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Is Xocai a Scam?

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[This article was originally a placeholder. A commenter named Paul significantly hijacked the conversion on my article exposing ViSalus as a scam. I've done my best to move most of those comments and conversation to this article. Thus there's a little discussion about ViSalus which may be confusing, but I hope it is minimal.

Finally, a year and a half after those conversations took place, I've been able to find the time to write an article covering Xocai in some detail. As with all of my MLM articles, I strive for accuracy and am happy to correct any information that seems incorrect. Simply leave a message in the comments with your concerns and I'll read and respond to them.]

Xocai's "Study" in the American Journal of Bariatric Medicine

I first heard about about Xocai when someone commented on my articles that it was covered in the American Journal of Bariatric Medicine. That sounded really official, so I went to read more about it in detail. I noticed that the Xocai Store seems to have a copy to read. Unfortunately, clicking the link doesn't bring you to the study, but instead brings you to Xocai's self promotional press release about the study. Nonetheless, there's a PDF copy of the article available here:

Before I get into the article in detail, I want to comment on the source and the authors.

The authors are Machiel N. Kennedy, M.D. and Steven E. Warren, M.D.

Machiel Kennedy (who goes by "Mike Kennedy" - perhaps his parents had a typo in his name?) has done a Q & A with Xocai. That's not to say he's completely biased, but since the study is pitched as generic "cocoa meal replacement", it is a little surprising to see.

Warren is revealed to be a Xocai Medical Advisor here. As a doctor with that position, it is likely highly illegal for him to do a Q&A saying that chocolate with all the questions that are asked... including suggesting that it helps Crohn’s disease. Those who are familiar with supplements are likely also familiar with the disclaimer, "This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease." So when Warren is caught stating that Xocai chocolate will "help a lot" with Crohn's disease, we have a problem.

It's pretty hard to take Warren seriously given his bias and what appears to be flaunting of the FDA's regulations on supplements.

Perhaps more importantly than the authors themselves, the American Journal of Baratric Medicine doesn't appear to be one of the tens of thousands of journals indexed by PubMed.Gov, which is a sign that it is not considered very important.

It would be comical if it wasn't so tragic, but many of the results on the first page of Google for "American Journal of Bariatric Medicine" are related to this two-page "study" from 2011. (We'll find out why I included the quotes when I get to the study itself). There's no Wikipedia page for the journal and best I can tell it has no Impact Factor rating at all. The top result in Google points to the American Society of Bariatric Physicians and the site doesn't seem to make mention of the American Journal of Bariatric Medicine at all. To make sure I'm not missing something, I did a Google search just of the ASBP.org to see if the website mentions the journal at all. The only result is the home page of ASBP.org, which again doesn't seem to mention the journal.

I did a Google image search of "American Journal of Bariatric Medicine" to see if I could find any covers other than the issue with the Xocai "study" in it. I couldn't find any.

I don't mean to beat a dead horse here, but it is almost like this is a ghost journal.

After much searching, I've finally found something helpful: "The American Journal of Bariatric Medicine, The Bariatrician is a color scientific publication distributed twice a year to ASBP members and subscribers." No wonder why it is so hard it is to find, it's rarely distributed to a select very few people.

Having solved that mystery, it's time to analyze the study itself. I'm going to assume that you've read the PDF copy of the study available here.

When I was in the 5th grade I learned about controlled, dependent, and independent variables. The article designed for children's science fair projects even covers it:

"These changing quantities are called variables. A variable is any factor, trait, or condition that can exist in differing amounts or types. An experiment usually has three kinds of variables: independent, dependent, and controlled.

The independent variable is the one that is changed by the scientist. To insure a fair test, a good experiment has only one independent variable. As the scientist changes the independent variable, he or she observes what happens.

The scientist focuses his or her observations on the dependent variable to see how it responds to the change made to the independent variable. The new value of the dependent variable is caused by and depends on the value of the independent variable.

For example, if you open a faucet (the independent variable), the quantity of water flowing (dependent variable) changes in response--you observe that the water flow increases. The number of dependent variables in an experiment varies, but there is often more than one.

Experiments also have controlled variables. Controlled variables are quantities that a scientist wants to remain constant, and he must observe them as carefully as the dependent variables. For example, if we want to measure how much water flow increases when we open a faucet, it is important to make sure that the water pressure (the controlled variable) is held constant. That's because both the water pressure and the opening of a faucet have an impact on how much water flows. If we change both of them at the same time, we can't be sure how much of the change in water flow is because of the faucet opening and how much because of the water pressure. In other words, it would not be a fair test. Most experiments have more than one controlled variable. Some people refer to controlled variables as 'constant variables.'"

If you've read the Xocai study by now, you'll realize that there are many variables and that they aren't properly controlled. The most obvious failure is "monetary rewards were given to the winners of the group." In short, they are going to give money to motivate people to lose weight. Why introduce this variable? Like the change in the water flow above, this experiment is flawed because we don't know if weight loss is caused by the meal replacement or by the financial rewards. We know that paying people lose weight works... I wrote about it back in 2010, when there was an article about it in Time Magazine.

The question is whether the high antioxidant meal replacement did anything. We can't know because it isn't a fair test of the meal replacement. Maybe the people would have gained weight on the meal replacement if they weren't financially motivated.

Furthermore, there's no evidence that high antioxidant content in the meal replacements lead to weight loss. Perhaps people would have lost weight eating Twinkies. Don't laugh, a nutrition professor lost 27 pounds on a Twinkie diet.

Let's not forget that people were encouraged to exercise which obviously plays a role in weight loss. They also had weekly support calls, which is yet another variable that has been known to contribute to weight loss.

In the end, they combined several variables well-known to help people lose weight (calorie control, exercise, monetary rewards, regular support check-ins) with one variable that isn't shown to help people lose weight - the amount of antioxidants in a meal replacement. The results of the study are unsurprising... people lost weight.

It should come as no surprise that Xocai took credit for the weight loss:

"A recent study has found that overweight or obese individuals who consumed an antioxidant-rich, raw-cocoa based meal-replacement shake over a twelve-week span were able to lose significant weight. The study is the first of its kind to comprehensively show that a high-antioxidant diet, particularly one featuring unprocessed cocoa, can effectively help promote healthy weight loss."

Worse were the comments from Machiel Kennedy in that press release:

"Few studies have specifically investigated the association of high-antioxidant foods such as raw cocoa with safe and effective weight control. Our study is the first to truly examine this relationship, and its findings were very pronounced... The powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects of high-antioxidant meal-replacement shake clearly played a significant role in the weight loss benefits seen by the study participants. The results were very impressive, and perhaps enhance our understanding of the wide ranging health benefits of cocoa."

The problem is that this study didn't investigate the association of high-antioxidant foods in helping to control weight. Kennedy is exactly wrong. There was no indication at all that a high-antioxidant shake played any role at all in the weight loss benefits seen by the study participants.

In the end, you have:

  1. A study that a 5th grader could tell you was so poorly designed that no reliable conclusions could be made
  2. At least one author (Warren) who appears to have a clear Xocai bias which he doesn't seem to have disclosed
  3. A journal that has zero impact on the medical and scientific community

It should be clear why they couldn't get the study published in any of the tens of thousands of journals that are peer-reviewed and have a shred of significance in the scientific community.

If Xocai were a reputable company it seems they'd want to distance themselves from this "study", not promote it.

Xocai's "Healthy Chocolate" Patent

The other item in Xocai's store is the second one: "Xoçai secures patent for 'Healthy Chocolate'."

I was curious how Xocai got a patent on a phrase. I've always known that to be a trademark. And, of course, when I click through to the press release they acknowledge that is a trademark. I consider this just another example showing that the people running the company don't a clue what they are writing about.

Other than the patent/trademark mix-up, my response to this piece of "news" is "Meh". If I really cared to about marketing I might call myself "The Blogger King" and apply for that trademark. I would probably be able to get it if I showed I that used the term a ton before anyone else. It wouldn't mean that I'm actually a king or a very good blogger at all.

That's the big takeaway, trademarks are essentially for marketing. The patent and trademark office does not test products to see if it delivers what the company is marketing. In fact here are some ridiculous patents that Business Week found.

So again, Xocai is 2 for 2 on their store page with their marketing being misleading. In fairness, the journal article is much more misleading than a "healthy chocolate." However, I've caught their sales-force using the "healthy chocolate" term as if it was reputable because it comes with the "backing" from US Patent Office. I like to call this a P.T. Barnum argument, "There's a sucker born every minute".

It's a shame that they don't have anything else for me on this store page to analyze. In the 18 months since I last looked into the company, I expected them to come up with something new.

The most important takeaway here is that if you see a Xocai distributor promoting the bariatric "study" and the "healthy chocolate" patent/trademark, you now know that he is full of bovine excrement (i.e. BS).

What do Health Experts Say?

Typically the doctors/scientists/researchers are not concerned in evaluating specific brand-name supplements that make grandiose claims. It's easy to claim something, but it is much more difficult to prove a product works by getting it approved by the FDA for a medical condition. Many people erroneously believe that supplements can't be approved by the FDA for diseases, but most people know that calcium and vitamin D are approved to make claims about osteoporosis.

However, Dr. Jonny Bowden published an article on the Huffington Post, specifically covering the phenomena of these MLM products "working." Specifically, he writes:

"New Rules: No More Claiming Mona Vie Cures Cancer! Nor, for that matter, AIDS. Nor lupus, GERD, acne, age spots, arthritis, a balding scalp or sagging libido. Nope. Sorry. And lest you think I'm picking on poor MonaVie, the same is true of Xango, Mangosteen, Xocai, Tahitian Noni, and all the other ridiculously overpriced and oversold juices promoted by scientifically illiterate multi-level marketing 'distributors' who repeat these claims with the sincerity and earnestness of a Kucinich volunteer."

As the good doctor points out, ORAC scores easily manipulated... and after a certain amount are not useful. I see it like someone saying that they'll give me 35 gallons of gas for the price of 17. My car's gas tank is only 15 gallons, so the rest is wasted. More is not necessarily better, though for marketers, more is always impressive. We are smarter than that aren't we?

This article is from 2008 and more than 6 years later, I don't see MXI Corp (parent company of Xocai) arguing his reputable analysis in any way.

Perhaps more importantly the USDA has removed its database of ORAC stating:

"Recently the USDA’s Nutrient Data Laboratory (NDL) removed the USDA ORAC Database for Selected Foods from the NDL website due to mounting evidence that the values indicating antioxidant capacity have no relevance to the effects of specific bioactive compounds, including polyphenols on human health...

ORAC values are routinely misused by food and dietary supplement manufacturing companies to promote their products and by consumers to guide their food and dietary supplement choices...

The data for antioxidant capacity of foods generated by in vitro (test-tube) methods cannot be extrapolated to in vivo (human) effects and the clinical trials to test benefits of dietary antioxidants have produced mixed results."

Thus we can safely throw out the notion that ORAC scores are meaningful. To take it a step further, if a Xocai is touting ORAC scores, they would appear to be either poorly educated about how useless they are or misusing them to promote Xocai as the USDA found.

Does Xocai "Work?"

To all the Xocai distributors making claims that the chocolate cured [X] and aided with [Y] medical conditions, I refer back to Dr. Bowden analysis above. You see these claims with dozens of MLM health products, so unless the distribution system is a medical cure, it simply doesn't make any logical sense. I wrote an article detailing why people think their MLM health product "works" and a group of doctors, scientists, and researchers found it so impressive, they've asked if they can republish it on their site which you can find here. I try not bill myself as an expert and let my arguments stand on their own strength, but when unbiased doctors publish those arguments... well you know they must be pretty good.

Xocai is a Dangerous Cult?

There's no shortage of people comparing MLM to cults. Here are some examples of those people.

However, there appears to be much darker story with Xocai. The Committee for Skeptical Inquiry has a very enlightening article on Xocai. It covers most of the misleading marketing and such here, but goes further by noting an huge incident in Norway. A blogger wrote an article exposing Xocai as a scam (probably not too much different than this one) and a group of Xocai members threatened him and his family in an attempt to "stop the attacks on Xocai."

This is similar to the times I have been threatened by MLMers when expose their scams.

I'd like to think that any level-headed person would understand that it is not okay to threaten people's lives over small pieces of chocolate. You don't see this criminal harassment over Hershey Kisses. Lest you think I'm short-changing Xocai's "healthy" message by comparing it to Hershey Kisses, this kind of harassment doesn't happen with blueberries either. It happens when people make logical arguments to show the world why MLM is a scam.

A reputable company would realize that they played a central role in creating this angry mob. If a reputable company had a reputable product that they could sell any other way they would make the right choice and do it. The fact that Xocai hasn't taken action to sever ties with its MLM distribution system is further evidence to me it isn't reputable.

Is Xocai a Scam?

I like to end these articles by noting that "scam" means different things to different people. In my context, I like to use Wikipedia's definition of redirecting "scam" to its "confidence trick" entry.

I don't know any way other than scam to describe Xocai's press release that focused on the "high-antioxidants" being a factor in the "study." They antioxidants seem to be nothing more than a bystander to the multitude of other weight-loss tactics used in the study. It's not like Hostess put out a press release that Twinkies/sugar is considered a promising weight-loss tactic. As best I can tell, that's what Xocai did, but worse, since they funded the study in various ways (the financial rewards, the product, the co-author, etc.)

There is a lot more that can be written about Xocai. I often do a cost analysis of an MLM product to show how ridiculously expensive it is. I also often show that very few people make the big money using the company's own Income Disclosure Statement. For example, one I could find was from 2010 (PDF) and it clearly shows anyone making more than 10K is in the "<1%" range, which is a little like saying that less than 1% win the lottery or less than 1% of people have a billion dollars. While both statements would be true, they don't accurate portray exactly how rare such things are. Also one shouldn't miss the small print which says that these abysmal numbers are for those who have sponsored two people. The people who have been trying to recruit people for a year and only got one person or no one don't show up. Imagine how bad the numbers would look if they included all these people instead of the "successful" ones. And the numbers get worse still when you factor in the expenses necessary to run the business. However, at over 3000 words, I've already sufficiently beat a dead horse without going into that level of detail. Update: It looks like the Washington Post has a great article on MXI. It's almost hard to not quote the whole thing. Here are a few of the highlights:

- A distributor has been in MLM for 3 decades with 16 MLM companies: "He lost a little bit of money every time, but he convinced himself that he just hadn't put in the work. This time, he was committed."
- His "commitment" to Xocai resulted in losing $100,000 in 5 years
- The article also states: "He and the other salespeople deluded one another into thinking they were all on the point of becoming fabulously wealthy, he said. 'Eventually, you come to realize: There's something really wrong here, and I just can't keep lying to people. Everybody's lying to each other.'"
- He started telling everyone he knew that MXI's probiotic chocolate had cured his acid reflux. "There's something that happens to you, where you start to believe your own" sales pitch, he said, using an obscenity. This is proof positive of the illegal medical claims that come from these companies: as I've written about here. Not only that, but it is cognitive dissonance at its finest.

In short, it covers some of the big problems with MLM in general. Once again, if the company or products could exist with a more legitimate business model that doesn't victimize distributors, you would think it would immediately use it.

Last updated on October 13, 2015.

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70 Responses to “Is Xocai a Scam?”

  1. Paul says:

    Why have the companies you mention and others like Nuskin, Amway, Mannatech, Juice Plus and many others not been shut down long ago? There are 100s of successful network marketing companies and the industry has been around for more than 50 years. Robert Kiyosaki is a well respected business educator, he and others say network marketing is the business of the 21st century.

    Network Marketing is really just a different distribution stream delivering products to consumers directly rather than many levels of middle people that traditional methods use. They legitimately sell products to the end user and often MLM products are better because it is word of mouth advertising which comes at no direct $$ cost – more money for product development. Actually many traditional companies do use this type of marketing and give bonuses to those who refer people to their company. Why? Because they know people buy from people they know and trust. And that’s why direct marketing is so powerful and here to stay.

    • Lazy Man says:

      “Why have the companies you mention and others like Nuskin, Amway, Mannatech, Juice Plus and many others not been shut down long ago? There are 100s of successful network marketing companies and the industry has been around for more than 50 years.”

      There’s a long answer that’s outlined in great detail on the free ebook: http://mlm-thetruth.com/research/case4and-against-mlm/. Read chapter 11: Where is LAW ENFORCEMENT in all this?

      It is also worth watching the Kentucky Attorney General’s report on them shutting down of Fortune Hi-Tech Marketing a few weeks ago. It explains what they did wrong, and you can see it’s applicable to ViSalus and hundreds of other MLM companies. There’s a problem in the legal enforcement system when it takes three states plus the help of the FTC to act on a company that’s been around for 10 years and defrauded hundreds of people in a rigged game (their words).

      I know we’d like to live in a world where the bad guys are punished promptly and this stuff is cleaned up, but that’s simply not the case. For this reason, the burden is on the consumer to avoid the scams.

      “Robert Kiyosaki is a well respected business educator, he and others say network marketing is the business of the 21st century.”

      Actually Kiyosaki isn’t very well respected and he’s been caught defauding people in the past. I wrote an article about it Robert Kiyosaki and Multi-Level Marketing Exposed!, but feel free to check out the investigative report yourself.

      Oh and he was a former failed Amway distributor. You’ll note that he doesn’t participate in the “business of the 21st century” himself as he is not an MLM distributor. What he doesn’t tell you is that it is much more profitable to sell books to MLM distributors.

      “Network Marketing is really just a different distribution stream delivering products to consumers directly rather than many levels of middle people that traditional methods use.”

      Actually, when I order a product from Amazon or Dell it comes to me straight from them. MLM adds more middlemen that don’t perform any benefit, which raises product prices.

      “They legitimately sell products to the end user and often MLM products are better because it is word of mouth advertising which comes at no direct $$ cost – more money for product development.”

      Most of the time that end-user is the MLM distributor themself, which is a key indicator of a pyramid scheme. Tupperware left the MLM industry because it was dominated by apparent pyramid schemes.

      MLM products are not typically better quality. They gravitate to areas where people can’t easily discern the difference in quality: shakes, juices, and supplements for example. You don’t see any MLMs competing with Samsung for televisions. You don’t see them competing with Apple for phones. I don’t know of a single furniture MLM company. The appliances in my kitchen are not made by any MLM company. The list goes on. There are a few exceptions that may be good MLMs like Pampered Chef, but these are like Tupperware, very rare in the MLM industry.

      “Actually many traditional companies do use this type of marketing and give bonuses to those who refer people to their company. Why? Because they know people buy from people they know and trust. And that’s why direct marketing is so powerful and here to stay.”

      What you are talking about is referral fee. It isn’t MLM. It’s one level. Amazon has an affiliate program and no one has a problem with it. There’s no one saying that it’s a scam and the FTC isn’t shutting them down like Fortune Hi-Tech Marketing. It gets to be a pyramid scheme when they require that you buy the product to earn commissions. For a pretty clear example see The $100 Pen Pyramid Scheme.

  2. Paul says:

    Thanks for your thoughtful response. I usually don’t respond to these type of blogs. Everybody appears to be an expert even if they are not. I am realistic enough to know that I’m not going to convince anybody to my point of view. However, I will add this.

    Yes there are a few bad MLM companies out there that give the profession a bad name, Visalus is one of them and I don’t expect them to be around very long with Blyth at the helm. That said, there are many traditional companies/industries that also have a structure in the shape of a pyramid that have lost their way. One example – Aspertaime is poison and yet it is still on the market with no signs it will be removed.

    Thanks for updating me on Robert K. I know a lot of people who did Amway, none of them made any money. I know others that did Nuskin and made a lot of money. Not all comp plans are good ones.

    It would seem apparent that the Lazy Man doesn’t like the direct marketing opportunity for hard working people to have their own business with very low overhead and all of the tax advantages of the big guys. I am fortunate to be involved with a 7 year old company that has unique products, a customer base, one of the top comp plans and direct clinical studies published in a medical journal. We don’t have to make any false claims because the ingredients are proven by 1000s of scientific studies worldwide.

    I think the industry is going strong with the best products you can buy anywhere. Products can be easily evaluated, (plus there is a label) most people are smart and discerning about products and by trying a product are able to decide for themselves whether a product is good or not.

    • Lazy Man says:

      There are more than a few bad MLM companies out there. Please realize that I wrote this post because I wrote how One24 is an obvious pyramid scheme (using FTC guidelines) and Todd Hirsch claimed that ViSalus was the best of the bunch.

      In the dozens that I’ve looked at well over 99% of people lose money. I haven’t found one where is different. It’s not that there are few bad apples, it’s that there are no good apples.

      One of the problems is that people in MLMs, like you Paul, spread lies comparing corporate America to a pyramid scheme. Pyramid schemes are not about the shape, but the endless recruiting of multiple people. Corporations are a hierarchical organizations where everyone performs a job that isn’t centered around recruiting other people.

      One of the other problems with MLMs is that they confuse the topic of MLMs with things like Aspartame, or cigarettes, or anything else that’s bad. This is worse than a few MLMs giving the profession a bad name, this is like me suggesting that you shouldn’t eat an apple because there was a tsunami last year… there’s no logic to the two unrelated things.

      Don’t judge a compensation plan by a few people who you happen to know. It turns out that 99.94% of people in Nuskin lose money. Perhaps you just happen to be friends with the 6 in 10,000 who made money and the 1 in 20,000 that made a lot of money. You are fortunate if you are telling the truth. Statistically, you can understand why I doubt your claim.

      It turns out that effort isn’t important, failure is baked into MLM. If it was about hard work and not recruiting which is mathematically unsustainable, I wouldn’t mind MLM. It isn’t worth talking about low overhead or tax advantages when losing money in the business opportunity. You can do better by donating money to charity.

      As it happens, Paul, I have 90% of an article written on what appears to be your MLM, Xocai. You’ll find that the clinical study and the medical journal is laughable and the distributors do make false claims. You are already an example with the comparison of corporations to pyramid schemes.

  3. Paul says:

    One more thing – Lazy Man says: “I don’t know of a single furniture MLM company. The appliances in my kitchen are not made by any MLM company. The list goes on.”

    Really furniture! That’s because most successful NWM companies focus on consumables. Products that people are already using and buy over and over.

    • Lazy Man says:

      I know that MLM companies focus on consumables. Why… because that’s better for running a pyramid scheme. You see a few companies that sell products that aren’t consumables like Tupperware and Pampered Chef and realize that they are the legit ones.

      MLMers say that MLMs make superior products and that they are more efficient businesses. If that’s true, then clearly there’s room for someone to knock out Sub-Zero refrigerators with their refrigerator MLM. It doesn’t happen because you can’t create a pyramid scheme with an appliance MLM and MLM doesn’t make superior products or have a more efficient business process.

  4. Paul says:

    Like I said you’ll never know if a product works if you don’t try it for yourself. Dr. Bowden is one source and we can find one source to support any point of view. We have learned from others that high ORAC works – at least 200,000+ per day. It is scientifically proven that we need antioxidants for good health and chocolate just happens to be a good delivery to the cells. At least our company tests the products with published results from an independent laboratory. No other company does that. Actually more important than the ORAC score are the flavanols. We test for that too. Trader Joe’s has some good products but they don’t test for antioxidant content.

    As for the study yes it is a lifestyle study and the lead doctor on the study is a bariatric specialist on the national board of bariatrics and not related to MXI. I know many who were on the study. Many of them gave up on dieting. It is about a lifestyle change not just a diet – using the high-antioxidant meal replacement, exercise, water, support. It is about keeping the weight off and at least 75% have kept the weight off after over 2 years. Why, because it is an easy program. Most well known weight loss programs have about a 3% success in maintaining weight loss. How about the fact that all 50 participants finished the 3 month study. That is unheard of in any kind of study. You can call it a sham but these are real people who got results they were unable to get elsewhere.

    Finally, according to your logic because a product is distributed through network marketing it is a bad product.

    • Lazy Man says:

      You’ll never know by trying a product if it works or not. Many people would claim a placebo works, but we know it doesn’t. So trying a product is pointless. Here’s an article from the National Institute of Health about “What Works”.

      Bowden also cites “noted cancer investigator Ralph Moss, PhD, there is an upper limit to the benefit that can be derived from antioxidants. Taking in 25,000 ORAC units at one time…. would be no more beneficial than taking in a fifth of that amount.”

      I’m sure that the doctors on Xocai’s payroll may say otherwise, but these are unbiased. If you’ve got unbiased reputable doctors saying that at least 200,000 ORAC a day is helpful, that would be news, especially since “antioxidants don’t work”… and that’s scientifically proven too.

      You say that many of them gave up dieting, but then say that they went on meal replacements. Which is it? Meal replacements are a diet. You could do the same study with ViSalus as a meal replacement, with the financial motivation, and the exercise and guess what? People would lose weight. I’m no fan of ViSalus, obviously, but the meal replacements are a simple matter of portion control, something that we already know helps people lose weight. You could duplicate it with Slim Fast too.

      It’s not surprising that all 50 participants finished the study, they had financial motivation. That’s not a helpful or relevant piece of data.

      As for my logic that every product being distributed through MLM is a bad product, I don’t think I said such a thing. I didn’t say that Visalus or even Xocai are bad products. I said that they are overpriced for what they are. This article made the point that you can make a near equivalent or 1/3rd the price. That’s equivalent product is one that I’ve made myself. I wouldn’t have made it myself if I didn’t think it was good.

      I will say that I’ve looked at dozens of MLMs now and every one of them is a scam. Xocai distributors pushing this study that found nothing special about Xocai is just another example of it. I’m not saying that every MLM is bad. Maybe MLMs are like birds and I’ve just seen the 99.9% of them that fly… the bad MLMs. It doesn’t mean that there isn’t a penguin or an ostrich out there representing a good MLMs.

  5. Paul says:

    One more thing about MXI the company that developed Xocai. Their previous highly successful company Pure Delite marketed sugar free chocolate products through retail – Walmart, Walgreens and many other familiar store chains. That company was closed when the low carb industry lost its edge. They developed this product because cardiologists were still asking for the PD product because it helped their heart patients. All those stores wanted the new Xocai product, which would have been easier for MXI because they were already set up in the retail chain. They choose MLM as a better way to market. So does that make Pure Delite good and Xocai bad because of it’s marketing structure? I should think marketing has nothing to do with weather a product is good or bad.

    • Lazy Man says:

      Paul,

      I see many sugar free chocolate options on Amazon. Pretty much every big company I can think of is represented.

      If they could have got the products in Walmart, Walgreens, etc. they would have. It’s a proven way to do a lot more sales. I bet Xocai just told you that Walmart wanted the product to make you feel that it was valuable. I can see the guy on stage at the annual convention saying, “Wal-Mart wanted this product, but we wanted to bring it directly to the people, so you can share in the profits for marketing it!”

      As we’ve seen with LifeVantage Protandim when its marketed in a GNC no one makes illegal claims about the product. When it’s marketed via MLM, the internet and distributors go nuts claiming that cures cancer. That’s why Dr. Bowden has to write article like the one I referenced saying that the products don’t do any of the stuff that distributors are claiming. It doesn’t mean it isn’t a good piece of chocolate. It may be a fine piece of chocolate. Just stop filling people’s heads with false things about ORAC and trying to turn it into a great health product that it isn’t.

  6. Paul says:

    You get what you pay for and quality is something missing in your flat earth discourse. GNC – a successful company that markets low quality ingredient products. Slate Magazine, now there is an important, scientific source, since science seems so important to you. Placebos actually do work. Here is one example, of many http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/09/120910152011.htm Incidentally, antioxidants are not placebos and not controversial. Science clearly shows that antioxidants heal cells by neutralizing free radicals. Here are 3 examples:
    http://www.rps.psu.edu/probing/antioxidants.html
    http://www.webmd.com/food-recipes/features/how-antioxidants-work1 alue?
    http://www.rice.edu/~jenky/sports/antiox.html

    There you go again making statements you know nothing about! You stated, “If they (Xocai) could have got the products in Walmart, Walgreens, etc. they would have.” Of course you don’t know that and nothing could be further from the truth because some products need education about why they are different. I know MXI and everything you have stated about Xocai is 100% false so I’ll skip any fake evaluation that may be forthcoming. For one thing they don’t have any doctors who are employees. And, your statement about a laughable scientific publication that did the weight loss study. They actually have a peer review process. You have no scientific background and no peer review. Just your misguided opinion about some quality products. Anyone can find an example to support a point of view. Are we suppose to take your word as fact, someone with at least 3 online identities? It is all about trust and following the lazydude is like whack-a-mole, the minute you are seen, you disappear and pop up out of a different hole with a new name.

    What goes around comes around and one day you will go to far with your vicious blogs. My guess is the only reason you are against MLMs is that you failed to be successful in one. And now you make money putting them down every which possible with advertising on your phony blog.

    Over and Out!

    • Lazy Man says:

      Paul, you don’t always get what you pay for. When being scammed you pay for more than what you are getting. MLM health products always claim to bridge the gap between their expensive prices by being “quality.” Funny that they all choose products that are difficult to measure quality. They never choose to compete on value.

      When you go look for proof of quality on the MLM health products, it all falls apart. There’s nothing to support it.

      Slate magazine referenced all the important sources. Did you read the article and the references? It would be like me discounting your references because they came from “Paul”, who is clearly not a trusted scientific source. I’m going to trust Slate’s doctors’ referenced articles over “Paul’s” though. It sucks when someone uses an argument of authority against you rather than debating the points, doesn’t it?

      Placebos are chosen because they are known to not have any ingredients that are clinically effective. You can’t say that there’s something in the product that works.

      Antioxidants haven’t been shown to be clinically effective (i.e. better than a placebo) in most things with a few notable and well-known exceptions (calcium and vitamin D for osteoporosis). And yes, since some studies have linked them to increased rates of death, they are controversial.

      If you knew how the peer review process works, it is simply a review of the study to make sure there aren’t glaring holes. It isn’t intended to catch poor initial design such as not having a control variable.

      I don’t know where you get the idea that I 3 online identities. I just use Lazy Man to publish under because I give out my financial details and no one publishes their real name, how much they make, and how much they are worth. If I were to give my real name with this information, people could steal my identity. This way readers get the important information, the money, and not the unimportant information, a name of a person they’ll likely never meet.

  7. Paul says:

    Of course I don’t expect to convince you of anything, Cory, Vogel, Lazy Man or whoever you are? Believe it or not there is value in knowing who is giving information. Are they trustworthy. As for quality – We like to say there is expensive chocolate, cheap chocolate and valuable chocolate. We have the latter. In fact if I hadn’t actually received personal benefits I couldn’t promote the product. It isn’t about a company selling me a bill of goods and me buying it all hook line and sinker. I experienced it for myself. There is integrity here, something you seem not to have considered in your monologue. You obviously have no interest in adding anything of much importance to any conversation. Just you biased opinion that keeps the controversy going and the advertising $$ coming in.

    • Lazy Man says:

      I go by Corey, because people felt weird calling me “Lazy Man.” Vogel is someone who comments here from time to time. He’s no different than you or Jeff, no relation to me at all. I never met the guy.

      There is only value in knowing who is giving the information if it is in question. For example if Hitler says that 2 + 2 is 4, it doesn’t mean that it is 7 because it’s coming from Hitler. The facts are still the facts irrespective of who they come from.

      Someone may say that they should listen to Nick Sarnicola of ViSalus because he’s made a lot of money. They equate this with value. However, as I’ve shown with guidelines from the FTC, his money is made from an illegal pyramid scheme. We know that the FTC is trustworthy because they are on the side of consumers, not biased people touting pyramid schemes.

      As for me, I’ve been written about in the Wall Street Journal, U.S. News and World Report, Lifehacker, the Consumerist, etc. I am certainly more well known for being a trustworthy source, as evidenced by the 1500 articles I’ve written that have received this coverage, over you, “Paul.”

      Of course you are going to say that your chocolate is valuable chocolate. As for your personal benefits, I have explained them all in this article: http://www.lazymanandmoney.com/no-your-mlm-health-product-does-not-work/. You can not attribute any benefits you’ve received to the product itself. A number of well-known psychological phenomena (many of them subconscious) explain why distributors of MLM products in general attribute healing properties to their products.

      Take a step back and ask if a bunch of MLM products: Xowii, Xango, MonaVie, Zrii, Nopalea, Noni, ASEA, Protandim, etc… all have these benefits. Their distributors claim they do. It’s not like they share a common ingredient that could be attributable to it. The thing in common is the psychological phenomena surrounding the products and MLM in general. My goal is to help people see this. The product could be ordinary Coca-Cola relabeled differently and sold with a story that it is made of scrubbing bubbles that clean your insides. There would be a lot of MLM people that would buy it and say that they experienced a cleansing from the bubbles. Then they’d say that Coca Cola is cheap soda and not valuable scrubbing bubbles that cleanse your body.

      This is the extremely valuable thing that I add to the conversation. You can go look up the psychological phenomena, it is well proven in numerous studies. This is the only thing that accurately gives an explanation for why these products give all their believers “benefits.” If you can come up with something else that explains all the products that I mentioned above, I’d love to know what it is. It certainly isn’t some special ingredient in Xocai, because that ingredient isn’t in Protandim and MonaVie… it doesn’t explain those people claiming benefits for those products. The psychological phenomena is what is referred to as the lowest common denominator amongst them all. You tell me something that explains it better.

  8. Beth says:

    Paul, his article is only making one point, that Visalus is a pyramid scheme. It requires it’s employees to buy it’s product and recruit others to buy or sell it. That is illegal whether the product is effective or not.

  9. Paul says:

    You have made your self importance quite clear. However, I am trusting others including world renowned economist Paul Zane Pilzer author of “The Wellness Revolution”, who stated, Science is making great breakthroughs in wellness and there are a handful of amazing patented scientific products being sold via network marking companies. Further he states, in this decade $1 trillion of the US economy will be devoted to the wellness industry. These kinds of products are marketed through MLM because it is a growing industry and to your point the furniture and refrigerator industry are not growing. He predicts there will be 3.6 million new millionaires in the next 5 years and they will do it in wellness and network marketing. There are other highly respected business professionals and authors like Brian Tracy, John Maxwell, Tony Robbins who are proponents of the profession.

    Your post, “Your MLM health product doesn’t work.” Question is do you think any health product works? The psychological phenomena, you write, is why these products work yet you also write the placebo effect doesn’t work. It looks like you want it both ways. Okay, taking a step back, the common effect in all those companies you mentioned is not any specific ingredient(s) but antioxidants. That is the common thread and there must be something to antioxidants or so many retail companies wouldn’t be advertising on television and elsewhere that their products have the most. The fact is people want to be healthy and well and the old ways just are not working.

    As for chocolate and health benefits there are now over 6000 studies on chocolate. It doesn’t follow that the scientific studies would continue if the results were bad. And those studies are not done with Hershey chocolate and the like but the real thing, non alkalized with nothing added (like waxes and fillers) and with the health promoting cocoa butter, products that for the most part are very bitter. There is an old saying, “We are what you eat”. Xocai products are just pure food processed in a natural way to make them taste good. MXI has a couple of important government consumer recognitions – 1) A patent on the cold-press process which maintains all of the antioxidants and 2) Healthy Chocolate® is a registered trademark of the company. Xocai products are not expensive compared to other high end Belgian chocolate and companies like Godiva and Schraffen Berger.

    You write about different ingredients without any consideration about quality. Getting the most value for your dollar could end up being a waste of money all together, when it comes to vitamins and minerals. You are suggesting buying separate products instead of one with everything in it. But if those products don’t deliver nutrients to the cellular level, what good are they? Synthetic vitamins like Centrum will end up in the toilet because the body doesn’t recognize them as anything useful. So what you will have is expensive urine. Low quality protein from Costless doesn’t make sense and Metamucil is a temporary solution, not meant to be taken on an ongoing basis for fiber needs. There are many considerations to consider. Most worthwhile products are formulated by food scientists to work together.

    Further, the explanation you made to That Guy, about what is and what is not a meal replacement is ill-informed. Using your logic, a meal is based on calories. How about protein, vitamins, minerals, fiber and again the quality of those ingredients. Instead of a 90 cal. Vi Shake or 190 cal. Xocai Meal Replacement Shake (yes meal replacement) I could get a 2010 cal. Cold Stone PB & C shake to get a meal replacement. Of course along with that I get 131g of fat, 89g of carbs and 153g of sugar. Now there is a meal replacement, actually 2 or 3.

    MLM is just a better distribution model, with one middle man, as opposed to multi middle men in the so called traditional distribution channels. Amazon is an example of a level, in a multi level distribution chain. The lazyman seems to just wants to send all the money to the middle companies, advertising agencies, television networks, print media and multinational corporations. It is not possible to become financially independent working a normal 8 to 5 job. The beauty of MLM is low start up, low overhead, no inventory requirement and tax savings like large companies. The best of these MLM companies are well organized with training, support, promo materials, websites and everything a person needs to be successful in network marketing.

    Unfortunately, what you write is one sided, behind the times and not balanced. If the MLM industry was so prevalent with illegal pyramid schemes it would have been shut down long ago by one of your favorite trusted agencies, the FTC. The MXI compensation is well within the FTC guidelines with a large customer base and money being distributed throughout the plan, not just at the top levels. So maybe it is one of the good one’s!

    Albert Einstein said, “Logic will get you from A to B, imagination will get you everywhere” which means being open to new ways of doing things. Just because we have always done it this way doesn’t mean it’s the best way. The world is in motion and there will always be new technologies, scientific breakthroughs and better ways of distributing things.

    • Lazy Man says:

      Paul Zane Pilzer is only known in the MLM world. I remember the MonaVie people talking about him 4 years ago. His books were never very important… the Wellness Revolution that you cite is outsold by 48,000 books on Amazon. He didn’t have a Wikipedia page until 2012 and since then it has been predominately edited by two people. Someone who is truly world renowned who wrote important books in 2007 would have been included in Wikipedia. Oh and he’s from Utah, which is where around 98% of the MLMs are.

      I haven’t seen Tony Robbins talk about MLM in the couple of specials I’ve seen. I have a book from him that I bought a long time ago, and he doesn’t mention it either. He’s a motivational speaker who selsl his books to the MLM industry, so maybe he’s mentioned it once or twice.

      Brian Tracy is another motivational speaker making money from selling to MLMs. Everything on his Wikipedia page is listed as “citation needed”, which leads to the big notice at the top that it needs to be checked to neutrality.

      John Maxwell is an evangelical Christian speaker who sells books on leadership, which again makes MLM a natural audience for him to make money.

      It’s funny, but everyone you find is essentially selling shovels to people who think they are in a gold rush. They know that there is no gold. If there was, they’d be getting it. There’s no Jack Welch, a respected, proven businessman in your group. Not one breaks down and analyzes the MLM opportunity to show it to be a good one.

      Do I think any health product works? Let’s go with morphine. Have you had surgery without anesthesia? Have you seen the clinical trials for ED drugs like Viagra and Cialas. They’ve been clinically tested to be more effective than a placebo. The list of medicine that has been proven to work is pretty lengthy.

      It is well known that the placebos are chosen as a baseline to compare proposed medicine to see if it does work. I didn’t write this article from the National Institute of Health about what works.

      There are antioxidants in retail products and there aren’t thousands of people claiming that healed them. It’s been shown that Welch’s Grape Fruit Juice is better nutritionally than MonaVie. Welch’s is more widely distributed than MonaVie and it fulfills the antioxidant requirement, and yet there aren’t claims that it is cures any medical condition. The same is true for fruits and vegetables. No one says that I ate some strawberries and it cured my cancer. We can rule out antioxidants as being a common thread on the miraculous cure claims. We are back to the distribution method unless you have something else.

      Yes, people want to be healthy and well. This article covers that people want to believe in antioxidants. Advertisers are happy to use that desire for a competitive advantage in market place, but it doesn’t mean that antioxidants work.

      I never said that chocolate was bad. I love some dark chocolate with my red wine. It’s just not a cure for any medical condition. You can’t point to anything and say, “Chocolate cured his [X].” That X can’t be heart disease, lupis, cancer, blindness, or a broken leg. It can’t be anything else, except for hunger.

      MonaVie had a patent for their processing too. It doesn’t make it healthy. Protandim and ASEA have patents as well. That’s one of the ways that MLMs convince distributors that their products are quality. They say, “We have these patents.” As I’ve pointed to before, there are ridiculous out there that aren’t technically useful. So the, “we have a patent” isn’t very strong, unless you can prove that the resulting product is strong.

      Good job on trading marking Health Chocolate. I’m going to trademark Lazy Website. Is that going to make me legit? No. You can register a trademark for whatever you want.

      It’s impossible to have a discussion about quality with MLM. Every distributor claims that their product is the highest quality product available. There’s no good scale to measure quality in the areas that these health MLMs try to compete in. Godiva is priced high due to taste, not because people are illegally selling it as a cure for medicine. There are high priced wines too. So I should start a company rebottling Franzia as Frazinium, selling it for $50 a 750ml bottle via MLM, and claiming that the resveratrol is super healthy. An MLM would have already done this if selling liquor didn’t require different licensing in a number of states.

      We can’t tell if the MLM product took a bunch of Centrum, crushed it, and mixed it into their product. So when you make fun of Centrum’s synthetic nature, remember that. Most of the MLMs with significant vitamins and minerals are supplemented like Total cereal… essentially just a multivitamin.

      A meal is based on calories. It is like a basketball team consists of a set of players… at least 5. Larry Bird in his prime, being one player, does not meet the minimum requirements of a basketball team. It doesn’t matter how talented Larry Bird is… that’s a discussion that can be had only after he gets four friends together. On the other side of the spectrum, I could put together a group of 5 nonathletic five-year olds, and they could be a basketball team. They may not win many games, but they’d meet the minimum requirements of a team. The point here is that 90-calories is like Larry Bird, it doesn’t meet the minimum requirements for a meal. In fact, many companies now package things in 100-calorie “snack packs”, making it quite clear that is in the range of a snack.

      So don’t go muddying the conversation about quality of nutrition when it doesn’t minimum.

      MLM has many middlemen taking a cut, which one of the reasons why the products have to be so expensive. It is an unnecessary middleman as Amazon takes it out completely. I think there are a few MLMs that you buy directly from the website like Amazon. It proves that there’s no reason for a distributor. I’m all for sales, but let’s look at the affiliate model where anyone can join for free and a commission on sales. There’s no pyramid scheme, recruiting, or requirement of buying product to make it illegal like in MLM. No one illegally says the antioxidants on Amazon’s website cured them of anything.

      MLM has been proven to not be a good way of distribution things. It’s been a colossal failure since Amway back in the 80s. You can’t call it a new way of distributing things, because in MLM, most of the product is shipped from a factory warehouse to your door, the same as with Amazon or if one ordered from Wal-Mart’s website.

      It is quite possible to become financially independent working a normal 8 to 5 job. Many, many people do it. The odds are hundreds of thousands of times better than with MLM where only a couple dozen of the hundreds of thousands of distributors are actually able to replace a 8 to 5 job.

      The ugly of MLM is that it is a horrible business, with no barrier to entry (anyone can easily join and compete against you for sales), no control (the MLM company can fire you by canceling your distributorship). If it was a good business, you’d see people being successful at it, not 99.6% of people losing money.

      I would write a more balanced view of MLM, but it isn’t deserving. Some things are just inherently bad. If a thief steals an old lady’s purse, we don’t come out and say, “This is one-sided.” There’s nothing balanced to be written about it.

      As for, “If the MLM industry was so prevalent with illegal pyramid schemes it would have been shut down long ago by one of your favorite trusted agencies, the FTC.”, you should look into Fortune Hi-Tech Marketing. The company was in business for ten years. USA Today exposed them as what appears to be a pyramid scheme in 2010. A couple of weeks ago the FTC, with the help of three states’ Attorneys General shut them down. Unfortunately the legal system in the United States doesn’t allow for the FTC to simply just shut down any company. They have to make a case before a federal court. It takes years. Fortune Hi-Tech Marketing was running their “rigged game” (as regulators referred to it) for ten years. Anyone who read USA Today (tens of millions of people) a few years ago could have told you that.

      Just because the criminal enforcement system isn’t working, it isn’t a license to go stealing as if it is legal.

  10. Jeff says:

    Paul said “MLM is just a better distribution model”

    Agree, it’s a most excellent distribution model–for MLM companies.

    They are kinda genius. Evil, but genius. The only thing they really have to spend money on is cultivating belief. Belief that people can earn some side money, or get rich, if they just follow the MLM’s “proven system”–which they are so, so happy to sell you. Hey, it’s all about helping people! We’re saving the world from obesity/heart disease/cancer/mediocrity/having friendships not based on selling overpriced crap.

    Oh, that income disclosure showing 99% won’t actually make money after the expenses of our “proven system”? You can just ignore it, those 99% were lazy losers unlike you, you’re willing to go “all in!” And really work for it. Don’t ever give up and you can’t fail! Ignore the fact that all the people you managed to recruit quit within six months, you’ll find more, approach people at the store, in parking lots, everyone wants to sign up! And just keep giving us money, money, money–you’ll be a success!

    MLM companies don’t need to spend much money on product development because their real product is the dream of financial freedom and the belief it can be obtained through MLM, so they put on lots of dog and pony shows–conventions and meetings. Emotional manipulation and fake credibility are cheap, cheap. They don’t spend much on advertising because their believers will do it for them, what money they do spend on this area is solely focused on promoting becoming a distributor, not their products. Because that IS their product. They make money hand over fist because their expenditures are so low, while their distributors pay and pay, paying for hope.

    MLM distribution is a most excellent deal for MLM companies. For distributors, yeah, not so much.

  11. Paul says:

    Not sure where to start but here we go!

    -Correcting the record-

    Paul Zane Pilzer originally from New York, educated and spent much of his career in the east, now lives in Utah. Apparently that makes him guilty of something. Since wikipedia is open source anybody can be on Wikipedia and probably not all that important in the scheme of things since anybody can edit content. The reality, he is an important American economist, New York Times best-selling author, and entrepreneur. He was an advisor in two U.S. Presidential administrations. He received his M.B.A. from Wharton Graduate Business School at age twenty-two. At age twenty-four, appointed a professor at New York University. The youngest officer and VP while at Citibank. He testified before Congress, warning that the S & L problem would grow to a $200 billion-dollar disaster. Congress didn’t listen, and in 1989 Pilzer wrote Other People’s Money, which was critically acclaimed by The New York Times. It appears he is very important.

    John Maxwell is a New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and Business Week best-selling author and has sold almost 20 million books. His books are not focused only on a direct marketing audience.

    – Since you didn’t like my last list, let’s see who else supports MLM –

    Tom Peters, the legendary management expert and author of the classic best-seller “In Search of Excellence” (often tagged as the best business book ever), describes network marketing as “the first truly revolutionary shift in marketing in the last 50 years.”

    Bill Gates said, If I were to start my career all over again, I would choose Network Marketing.

    Steven Covey’s “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” still ranked in the top 100 at 75 on Amazon. He also authored, “The 7 Habits of highly effective Network Marketers.” Oops, he was from Utah!

    Sandy Botkin – Tax Expert “A network marketing business can result in tax savings of $3,000 to $9,000 per year.”

    Richard Branson said Mediocrity won’t change the world. The education and training to build an incredibly lucrative and joy-filled business is readily available. He says, push through your perceived limits, delegate & empower people, surround yourself with people you trust, take really good care of your customers, build your brand, have fun while building your business. If you don’t take risks you won’t achieve anything.

    You used Warren Buffet as an example of someone who wants to pay people less than minimum wage. The facts is that he is less interested in taking advantage of people and more interested in empowering them. He thinks his own taxes are too low. He has said that conventional advertising is losing its punch and amongst other things, Network Marketing is the perfect way to reach more people.
    ——-
    Network Marketing is taught in more than 200 colleges including Harvard Business School. Harvard Business School developed three criteria that a network marketing company must meet in order to make it a most desirable opportunity. They are:

    1. The company should be at least 18 months old as 90% of all network marketing companies that fail do so in the first 18 months.
    2.The company should have a product which is unique and highly consumable, unique in this case means that you have an exclusive product that can only be purchased from your company’s distributors.
    3. It needs to be a “ground floor” opportunity and in order for the opportunity to qualify as “ground floor” the number of existing active distributors should be less than 1% of the population. In the United States this figure is equal to 1.5 million people.

    MLM is no different than any business, you have to stick with it, unfortunately most people don’t because they think it is a get rich quick scheme. It is not a gold rush and like any business it takes time. More than 90% of all businesses fail, no matter the distribution model. In any business it takes several years before you make money and you do have to take action and actually do something.

    MLM is, leveraged income, and the model corporations use. It is exactly what Bill Gates did to make his fortune when Microsoft was at it’s peak with 72,000 employees. Leveraged income is the income derived from the efforts of others. Unfortunately the majority of people in the world today earn a linear income, which basically means that they trade their time for money and unfortunately no matter how high their hourly rate or salary, they are still restricted to only 24 hours in a day and therefore a limited earning potential, as in an 8 – 5 job. Leverage, allows people to use the time and efforts of others to create an income. So it is highly unlikly to become financially independent working 8 – 5.

    – More apples and oranges comparisons –

    Morphine is a drug. Drugs don’t heal anything and are not to be taken on an ongoing basis. Drugs are free radicals. Of course they have a place and are necessary for medical uses. Unfortunately they don’t heal us.

    What do athletic team makeups have to do with nutrition. I guess you are saying a Happy Meal is a complete nutritious meal. Ever heard of empty calories or see the film “Super Size Me”. Yes calories are part of the meal equation but there is more. According to WebMD you are looking at a minimum of 220 calories, 10-15 grams of protein, less than 5 grams of fat, 3-5 grams of fiber, and a third of daily vitamins and minerals per serving for a meal to be healthy and balanced. The one thing about your basketball analogy that might make sense is that those other 4 players to complete the team are equivalent to those 4 other requirements to make a meal complete.

    “If a thief steals an old lady’s purse”. Wow that is some statement. People are making choices not having their wallets stolen. They have a choice to do a business and/or buy a product. If they don’t like either they will stop and buy something else. If I don’t like Ocean Spray cranberry I can buy a different brand. Incidentally, Ocean Spray happens to be one of those companies claiming antioxidants. Again, it is proven that antioxidant work otherwise so many companies would not advertise that they do and be able to make such a claim.

    First is was furniture, then refrigerators and now liquor – how bizarre are those as ideas for MLMs. I don’t see those as passing the Harvard test as a viable MLM.

    Trademarking “Lazy Website” would mean nothing, except to you. Trademarking “Healthy Chocolate®” is everything in terms of marketing. I’ll bet there are a lot of chocolate companies that would like to have it. Not as easy as you claim, this one took 4 years to get.
    ——-
    Actually you can buy directly from the Xocai website, like Amazon. In fact they use the Amazon open source software. I am a big fan of Amazon, still it is a retailer with multi-levels of distribution, as previously described. For me there is room for the affiliate model and all the other marketing models.

    Remember those 6000 studies, many of them say chocolate improves cardiovascular disease. Here is one article the Cleveland Clinic http://my.clevelandclinic.org/heart/prevention/nutrition/chocolate.aspx and this one http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/03/070311202024.htm citing a 40 year study by Norman Hollenberg, professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School. Because of studies there is a lot we can say that is legal. Food is medicine. Consider that more than 700,000 people die every year unnecessarily, from complications in the medical industry. People are searching for something better and the reason why the wellness industry is growing.

    Centrum and the like – Whole food vitamins are better than synthetic as this common sense article says http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2005/01/19/whole-food-supplements.aspx and this one http://doctorjames.wordpress.com/2008/02/21/synthetic-vitamins-vs-whole-food-supplements/

    I’m not a fan of the MLM juice companies for a business opportunity, there is nothing different about them and you can’t tell one from another. I don’t know what other MLM companies spend on product development. I do know that MXI spent $11 million on the cold press process and the patent to protect it. They continue to develop new products, are a privately held debt free company, make well thought out decisions and are not beholden to investors or share holders. What I like about Xocai is that it isn’t another “me too” product. Xocai is to the wellness industry what Apple is to the electronics industry, it in an innovative company. in Steve Jobs words,“Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower.” Xocai created Healthy Chocolate® when no one thought it important, now everyone is talking about it.

    Good news, your objections will only make me a better marketer of a great product. So thanks for that. Bad news, this isn’t a discussion, but mostly a shoveling of senseless lopsided information about the network marketing profession and related topics; then me correcting the record. Unfortunately, nothing positive is happening here.

    • Lazy Man says:

      I apologize for a couple of things here:

      1. The departure from ViSalus. I feel that we can learn a lot from these discussions and thus they are important. I will be moving these responses to Paul to my analysis of Xocai when I’ve finished that article.
      2. I am in the process of moving, so with limited time, I can’t readily reply to long response like those of Paul. Hence the delay in approving his comment. Like I’ve done with over 10,000 comments previously, I intend to address the false marketing of MLM.

      Now on to the response to Paul…

      Paul Zane Pilzer – There are a lot of Wharton graduates. There are a ton of VPs at Citibank… they have a billion divisions (figuratively). The New York Times also makes fun of his book: “When you’re confronted with a mind-boggling book like ‘God Wants You to Be Rich’ — the title of a best seller from Paul Zane Pilzer — what’s left for even a gifted satirist to add?”

      CNN, including popular brands such as Money Magazine and Fortune don’t have much to say to about Pilzer. You’d think that one of those three huge brands would cover such an important person.

      Yes, since anyone can edit Wikipedia, you’d think that more than 2 people would be editing the majority of Pilzer’s profile. In comparison see how many people have edited Jack Welch’s profile. The fact that Pilzer didn’t have a Wikipedia page until 2012 tells you that there wasn’t much interest in covering his importance.

      Yes, John Maxwell has sold a lot of books. Motivational speakers with a evangelical Christian following can do that. Dr. Seuss has sold a lot of books too. I’m not going to take advice from the Lorax any time soon. What is Maxwell’s business background? What companies did he manage? Point me to his analysis of MLM. I’m not looking for a quote, but actual analysis.

      Tom Peter’s “In Search of Excellence” is ranked #24,728 in Amazon. That’s pretty low for one of the “best business books ever.” Oh and whoops, he admitted to faking the data in the book. That said, I also couldn’t find a reliable source attributing that quote to Peters.

      Bill Gates never said that if he were to start his career all over again, he’d choose network marketing. There’s no source for it and it is gossip that MLMers spread. It is just like the lie that you tell about MLM being taught at Harvard. It wasn’t. Wall Street Journal debunked in 1995 by talking to Havard. It was published by an MLMer in 1984 without attribution and 3 decades later MLMers are still spreading the lie because it helps them sell product.

      Steven Covey… Oddly, I could only find the audiobook for The 7 Habits of highly effective Network Marketers. The description is quite clear that it is a training. Again, this is selling shovels to those who think there’s a gold rush. It’s also listed #92,724 in books. It isn’t every effective support of MLM.

      Sandy Botkin’s quote of “A network marketing business can result in tax savings of $3,000 to $9,000 per year” is humorous. I’d say, “an athletic person can earn more than a million dollars a year too.” The point is that “can” is a very flexible term that can be used to show only extremes not typical results. One has to have actual profits to realize these tax savings for them to be legit. Since over 99.5% of MLMers lose money, it becomes pretty difficult to satisfy the 3 of 5 rule. Keep in mind that you can only deduct legitimate business expenses. That means that you wouldn’t have been able to deduct it before you got into MLM.

      Using tax deductions as a reason to get into MLM is at a minimum extremely shady. A legitimate business opportunity doesn’t need to market itself as a tax deduction.

      Richard Branson about mediocrity obviously is a point against MLM. The rules from all MLM companies regarding advertising and selling product (for example not selling on Ebay) ensure mediocrity.

      I didn’t say that Buffett wants to pay people less than minimum wage. My point is that there’s big difference between owning the MLM company and paying the company to work for it (i.e. being a distributor).

      I see the people you mentioned, who don’t seem to be important, provide zero analysis of MLM (like Maxwell, Pilzer) or are outright lies (Gates, Harvard) and raise you the following:

      – USA Today – Multilevel marketing or ‘pyramid?’ Sales people find it hard to earn much
      – Inc Magazine – Multilevel Mischief – Written by Norm Brodsky is who a veteran entrepreneur whose six businesses include a former Inc. 100 company and a three-time Inc. 500 company. Not he isn’t a motivation speaker, he creates successful businesses.
      – Forbes – Climb to the Top – This article refers to MLM as a pyramid multiple times.
      – Harpers – How Mary Kay Cosmetics Sells Women on ‘Having It All’ – “The women I interviewed for ‘The Pink Pyramid Scheme’ told me stories about struggling to patch together daycare or to survive high-risk pregnancies while working long hours scouting prospects and hosting parties without any guarantee of a sale. Debts mounted, marriages failed. They couldn’t have it all because Mary Kay’s business model (like that of any multilevel-marketing enterprise) is designed primarily to profit from, rather than enrich, its workforce.” It’s worth paying special attention to the phrase “like that of any multilevel-marketing enterprise”

      MLM is very different than other businesses. Those who are successful have downlines of hundreds, even thousands of people, that mathematically can only be replicated 1 in several hundreds or thousand people. This is different than running a pizza shop that actually has hundreds of customers each day. That’s a sustainable business that isn’t dependent on recruiting others. As the FTC says, “If the money you make is based on your sales to the public, it may be a legitimate multilevel marketing plan. If the money you make is based on the number of people you recruit and your sales to them, it’s not. It’s a pyramid scheme. Pyramid schemes are illegal, and the vast majority of participants lose money.”

      Pay special attention to the FTC, the organization that protects consumers (which we all are), saying that MLM’s can be illegal pyramid schemes.

      Microsoft did not use MLM to create his fortune. He created his fortune by providing IBM (and associated clones) an operating system… a product that was needed by millions. The person who invented the pet rock also made a lot of money by giving a lot of people what they want. With MLM, you can’t scale to selling to selling a million products, because other MLMers (in your case Xocai distributors) are competing against you. You can’t OWN the healthy chocolate market in the way that Bill Gates OWNED the operating system market.

      I’m a big fan of not trading time for money. If you read my archives, you’d realize that’s why I started this blog. I have limited time before my wife retires from the military at age 44 with a very nice pension. I didn’t want to be working to 65. That said, recruiting others into a scheme were 99.5% of people lose money… regardless of effort… isn’t the way I want to retire. I don’t understand how people can live with inflicting financial harm on others to better their own situation.

      Paul said, “Drugs don’t heal anything and are not to be taken on an ongoing basis. Drugs are free radicals. Of course they have a place and are necessary for medical uses. Unfortunately they don’t heal us.”

      My 5 month old, had a diaper rash that they think may be fungal. The doctor prescribed a cream for him and he was healed almost right away. I guess that was just random circumstance? I should have fed him “healthy chocolate” instead? Drugs are not free radicals. That’s one of the most ridiculous statements I’ve ever read… well excluding statements about MLM being taught at Harvard.

      You missed the point with the athletic analogy and bare minimums for requirements for meals. You are making an erroneous statement when you say, “I guess you are saying a Happy Meal is a complete nutritious meal.” You then used that erroneous assumption and went into a tirade about empty calories and “Super Size Me.” The point I had made is that there is a minimum number of calories required for a meal and ViSalus’ Vi-Shake 90 calorie do not qualify. It ends the discussion of comparing it to a meal. Nutrition is great, and I’m a huge fan, but that point only comes into play when minimum calorie requirements are met. As you point out, WebMD puts the minimum of calories at 220. Thus using your own source, which I agree with, we are done with the discussion of Vi-Shakes being a meal at 90 calories before we even get to the topic of nutrition content. Since this is long enough and we’ve got enough topics to cover, let’s just chalk this up to me being correct about the 90 calories not being a meal and you being wrong for trying to change the topic away from the calorie requirement of a meal. Thanks.

      Paul said, “People are making choices not having their wallets stolen. They have a choice to do a business and/or buy a product.”

      People are making choices based on misinformation (unintentional lying) and disinformation (intentional lying) such as the Bill Gates and the Harvard Business School information you gave above. They are also presented with erroneous about ORAC as you tried to do previously. There’s a name for selling products to people based on false information… it’s called fraud. Yes, it is illegal, just as stealing an old lady’s purse is.

      Yes Ocean Spray claims antioxidants. That’s all they do. They don’t go and say that it helped with their medical condition. No one says that Ocean Spray helps with medical conditions. Again, the reason why people make these claims are because of the MLM distribution system and the psychological phenomena surrounding it (No Your MLM Health Product Does Not “Work”.

      Paul said, “First is was furniture, then refrigerators and now liquor – how bizarre are those as ideas for MLMs. I don’t see those as passing the Harvard test as a viable MLM.”

      That would be great if there were such thing as a Harvard test, but again that’s a bad rumor that was spread.

      As an aside one of the things you mentioned is “It needs to be a ‘ground floor’ opportunity and in order for the opportunity to qualify as ‘ground floor’ the number of existing active distributors should be less than 1% of the population. In the United States this figure is equal to 1.5 million people.”

      You should have noticed that Harvard is smart enough to know that there are over 350 million people in the US, so the figure should be 3.5 million… quite a large difference from the 1.5 million people quoted. In addition, according to the MLM lobbyist group, the DSA, there are 15 million people in all MLM in the US. As an example perhaps the largest MLM, which has been saturated for years since it is 3 decades old, Herbalife, has less than 3.5 million GLOBALLY. So this represents a ‘ground floor’ opportunity? Mathematically using that 1% as a guideline every MLM would be ‘ground floor.’ Statistically less than 0.5% of people in the US are involved in MLM, so putting a ‘ground floor’ for a single company at double that amount is ridiculous. If one company got to 0.5% level, the entire MLM market would be addressed.

      I don’t think too many chocolate companies care about the “Healthy Chocolate” trademark. Most are smart enough not to market themselves as a health product. For the most part they don’t even try. I don’t see that registered trademark as being helpful in marketing. Distributors would have used the phrase even if it wasn’t trademarked. I’m not seeing the trademark used in any television commercials or radio commercials.

      There’s no real different in the distribution models of Xocai and Amazon. It’s all from warehouses to people… same levels. Amazon is great because it does millions of products, where Xocai has a limited number. You are confusing a distribution model with a marketing model.

      For me there’s no room for a model that appears to be a pyramid scheme when there are legal affiliate models that are just as efficient at selling product to customers. The main difference in these two models is that the MLM sells a business model, like those no money down real estate late night television commercials, and packs that into the price of the product.

      Paul said, “Actually you can buy directly from the Xocai website, like Amazon.” From your fake “Harvard” rule number 2: “unique in this case means that you have an exclusive product that can only be purchased from your company’s distributors.” Fail!

      I don’t see chocolate on this FDA list of products that can make claims. There are a lot of conflicting studies out there. You can’t pick a study and say that gives you a legal reason to make such claims. There are studies of vitamin C on a number of things and you don’t see vitamin C manufacturers making such claims. They would love to. They can’t.

      Keep on quoting the 700,000 number of people dying unnecessarily, but at least provide a source this time. While you are at it prove that chocolate can save them, because otherwise it is irrelevant to the discussion of MLM, ViSalus, Xocai, or any of the above.

      Chemically a vitamin is a vitamin, the molecules are the same. Here’s the structure of vitamin C, whether it is synthetic or not. All of this pretty irrelevant, because we know that chocolate doesn’t have a lot of vitamins in it naturally.

      I’ve just started to look into Xocai, but it does appear to be another “me too” product.

      Pretty much all MLMs are debt-free. They most generous compensation plans pay out half of profits, and require distributors to buy product to earn commissions, so they have to make some very poor choices to not be debt free. It’s like running a debt casino. The fact that they are private is a negative, because we don’t have proof that they spent $11 million on a process. We don’t have proof on much of anything because they don’t have to disclose it.

      No Xocai is not to the wellness industry what Apple is to electronics… not even close. That is a horrible comparison. Xocai didn’t create healthy chocolate before anyone thought it was important.

      Paul said, “Good news, your objections will only make me a better marketer of a great product.”

      I should hope so, you couldn’t be a much worse marketer.

      Paul said, “So thanks for that. Bad news, this isn’t a discussion, but mostly a shoveling of senseless lopsided information about the network marketing profession and related topics; then me correcting the record. Unfortunately, nothing positive is happening here.”

      I guess you are back to the drawing board in correcting the record.

  12. Paul says:

    Unbiased? You are biased by your own admission. Maybe I finally got it right. Otherwise why would you censored out my entire last post? Maybe you just can’t cope with that much positive info and so many prominent people supporting the MLM industry. FraudMan would be a better pseudonym for your blog.

  13. silo says:

    Paul,

    Your lame pitch might work in a controlled setting like a product party in your home, with uneducated attendees…but you’ll need to do better than rehashing old, disproven MLM claims if you hope to wield any credibility here.

    From the outset, your condescending tone and sales pitch delivery was suspect. Once you started using proven lies as your support, it was pretty clear you were running from a script, and had no actual clue what you were saying. Lazy Man did a great job cutting up every one of your claims.

    Thanks for bearing the watermark of chest puffery and ignorance that all MLM scammers seem to bear. Those watermarks make it possible for thinking people to disregard what you say as fiction, and reinforces everything that Lazy Man has been saying about your style of business.

  14. Paul says:

    Paul Zane Pilzer was adviser to not 1 but 2 U.S. Presidents, which seems more important than any book sales ranking on Amazon. This is not a popularity contest.

    Actually there is a huge difference in the quality of vitamins. I’ve heard the argument for years that chemical vitamins are the same as natural, but synthetic vitamins do not have the trace minerals and other nutrients that the body utilizes and are not measurable. Following your example of Vitamin C – a label says vitamin C, but you have no idea of the quality of its ingredients. The quality can vary greatly. A better quality ingredient can make a product a 1000 percent more effective.

    If you investigate chocolate you will find that it is one of the most complex foods with more than 300 compounds. That may be why it is so effective in the world is exploding with excitement about it. I have seen people get off of some of those devastating meds, with the approval and in co-ordination with their doctor, just by eating chocolate. Meds that the FDA approves, with side effects longer than your arm, including possible instant death. With reference to 700,000 unnecessary deaths, there is this thing called, common knowledge, where a reference isn’t necessary. That figure was conservative.

    As for “Healthy Chocolate” here are two products that are sold as such – Cocovia and Hershey’s Special Dark.

    Yes, “Ocean Spray claims antioxidants” the definition of an antioxidant is a substance, that counteracts the damaging effects of oxidation in a living organism. It is implied that their Ocean Spray product does exactly that. I also said medicine has a place and is necessary for temporary medical uses. Of course you need something to correct your child’s diaper rash however, you could probably find something at a health store that would be equally effective for that. In any case that is a temporary solution. There was a time when prescriptions were prescribed for short periods to correct a condition. Now, left of the drug companies they would have us take multiple drugs for the rest of her life. This is the sickness industry, in the business of selling drugs. Yes believe it or not drugs are oxidants. Antioxidants are proven to give humans better health.

    I never said healthy chocolate cured anything. Healthy food improves our immune system. If you give the body what it needs it will heal itself, we don’t get sick as often and when we do, it is minimized.

    Chocolate is not a fad and it isn’t hard to find studies that prove chocolate is health promoting. Here are a few added to the previously list. From the British Medical Journal, “Diet is one of the key lifestyle factors involved in the genesis, prevention, and control of cardiometabolic disorders. Cocoa products containing flavonol have been shown to have an encouraging potential to help prevent cardiometabolic disorders.”

    Flavonals are the key and chocolate is rated higher than any other food. However, most chocolate is cooked at extremely high temperatures loosing 70-80% of the flavonals.

    11 reasons chocolate is good for your health
    http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2012/03/28/11-reasons-chocolate-is-good-for-your-health.html

    Here is one that shows your Red wine and dark chocolate may prevent Cancer.
    http://phys.org/news185087626.html

    Here are a few more:
    http://circ.ahajournals.org/content/119/10/1433.full
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21666964
    http://www.webmd.com/diet/news/20120424/pick-dark-chocolate-health-benefits
    http://www.aarp.org/health/medical-research/info-03-2011/dark-chocolate-can-help-lower-your-blood-pressure.html
    http://www.bmj.com/content/343/bmj.d4488
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12589329

    I guess Bill Gates should have stayed. Microsoft is not the company it once was and has lost it’s edge to “innovation” elsewhere.

    I’m personally not very interested in any other network marketing companies as a business, Visalus, any vitamin or juice companies, because you can’t tell one from another. They are all “me too” products with nothing original. I like MXI because they are debt free, put major resources into R & D, have previously experience in retail and MLM, have developed a top comp plan that favors distributors. I know you don’t believe it, but MXI chose MLM for a reason. It is education about a product that has a story to tell that sitting on a Walmart skew no-one would hear. If that is a script then so be it – I own it!

    I know you think you know everything about everything. However, most MLM companies are not debt-free, in fact most have investors to get started and operate. Of course they want their money back sooner than later. Public companies are better than private companies? Then how about the mess that Visalus and Blyth are in with an FTC investigation of possible investor fraud. I think I’ll stick with a privately held company that I know quite thoroughly and unfortunately, you know very little. If they do go public, I’m all in!

    Also, since you are giving advise on protein shakes and diets. Did you know that the body can only utilize around 20g of protein in a meal? Muscle Milk? Now there is a product with enough calories, however it has inferior ingredients and concerning side effects. There is another old saying, “you get what you pay for”. I’ll bet if it were delivered through a network you wouldn’t be recommending it.

    Since you are completely biased against network marketing why would anyone who is looking for truthful information be interested in your opinions? To say all mlm companies are terrible is dishonest. Nothing is, all bad.

    Unfortunately, blogs make anyone an expert, even when they are not. I see Silo has drunk the Coolaid!

    • Lazy Man says:

      [Once again, I apologize for these long comments and discussion with Paul that is not relevant to ViSalus… when I have a more substantial internet connection in the comings days, I’ll move all these comments to their own article on Xocai.]

      I see that Paul Zane Pilzer claims to be adviser to two Presidents, it’s commonly parroted by MLMers like the lie that MLM is being taught by Harvard Business School. From PZP’s Wikipedia page he was appointed, “as a Consumer Member to the National Manufactured Housing Advisory Council (NMHAC) which regulates the construction of manufactured and mobile homes in the United States. Pilzer was appointed Chairman of the NMHAC by President Reagan in 1987.” If I ever want to contruct a manufactured home, I’ll take PZP’s opinions under advisement. I don’t see a connection between that and MLM. The Wikipedia page also mentions that he was also involved with George H. W. Bush’s administration, but there’s no citation as to what he did and what his responsibilities were.

      I suggest that you search the archives of my MonaVie article for Pilzer. As a person mentioned on Feb, 2009, PZP has been a paid speaker for MLM saying that it is the future for some 20 years. (I guess nearly 25 years now.) He’s been wrong for decades. In August 2010, a commenter mentioned that PZP has a “typical self-aggrandising article” pointing out that “There are no less than FOUR WARNINGS about the information on him because there are no external or clarifying references at all!” It looks like it got removed. Even the current article is grade C-class, which is pretty poor.

      Poor book sales, lack of Wikipedia edits, and lack of mentions in respected business magazines (Money, CNN, Fortunte) for Paul Zane Pilzer are important as it shows his relative lack of authority in the business world.

      Your case about his endorsement relies solely on this authority… or lack thereof. There is no accompanying analysis of MLM and why it is relevant. You are using an argument from authority and in this case it is seriously lacking.

      Hmmm, so we can see the molecular structure of vitamins, and all sorts of matter, but we can’t measure trace minerals and other nutrients? Really? You expect us to believe that? Could you at least put an expert source in there? Also, one can buy trace minerals on Amazon.

      Vitamins with a USP Verified certification have been measured for quality by an independent, non-profit group. It is the best indicator of quality consumers have when it comes to vitamins and it is included on many products at very cheap prices. Again, vitamin C is vitamin C like 87 octane gas is 87 octane gas and 500mg of acetaminophen is 500mg of acetaminophen. There’s nothing to support any difference in quality. MLMers like to claim that there is a difference in quality, but when pressed to show evidence, they can’t. They point to absorpsion rates, which is already covered in the USP Verification process.

      If you investigate chocolate cake, you’ll find it has all the ingredients of chocolate, plus a few additional ones. My point here is number of compounds is not necessarily an indicator of health (contrary to Bill Cosby’s reasoning in this famous comedic routine). The world is not exploding with excitement about chocolate… it is nothing new and has been around for thousands of years.

      Paul said, “I have seen people get off of some of those devastating meds, with the approval and in co-ordination with their doctor, just by eating chocolate.” This claim is parrotted for just about every health MLM product, which is why I had to write this article: No, Your MLM Health Product Doesn’t “Work.” Of course for them instead of “just by eating chocolate”, you get, “just by taking Protandim” or “just from drinking MonaVie.” It’s amazing how all these MLM products are miraculous cures and nothing sold via another distribution method is.

      Give me some of the doctor’s names who participated in this co-ordination. I’d like to call them up and verify your claims. Everytime I’ve presented this challenge to an MLM distributor they’ve backed away.

      Paul said, “Meds that the FDA approves, with side effects longer than your arm, including possible instant death.”

      They are also shown to work unlike chocolate. It is amazing how MLMers can disregard the rigourously tested drugs that the FDA approves and support something that has very limited clinical evidence of doing anything. Well it’s not amazing, because the MLMer has to believe their product is revolutionary, even if it isn’t.

      No, the 700,000 unnecessary deaths is not “common knowledge.” It is a statistic that had to be meticulously compiled by someone and thus you should be prepared to cite the source. Common knowledge might work for immutable facts such as the mathematical value of pi, but it doesn’t work for something that obviously would vary considerably from year to year such as the number of unnecessary deaths in hospitals.

      The larger point here is that focusing on the bad of medicine is like focusing on the bad of car accidents. It ignores the tremendous benefits that greatly outweigh the minimal bad circumstances. None of these benefits are clinically associated to coming with chocolate. You are comparing apples and transmissions.

      Paul said, “I never said healthy chocolate cured anything.” Pairing that with your line of “I have seen people get off of some of those devastating meds, with the approval and in co-ordination with their doctor, just by eating chocolate” is very confusing. While you may be able to technically be able to weasel out of the difference between the two, it is quite clear that you pitching chocolate as an alternative to medicine, and hence suggesting that it can cure things like medicine.

      Paul said, “Healthy food improves our immune system. If you give the body what it needs it will heal itself, we don’t get sick as often and when we do, it is minimized.”

      The “body heals itself” that you parrot is a red flag of quackery. The body doesn’t need chocolate to heal itself.

      It is one thing for Ocean Spray to claim antioxidants. I have no problem with that. It is another to claim that drinking it can be an alternative for medicine… that’s illegal. Ocean Spray knows that. Distributors of Xocai apparently do not.

      Don’t confuse this for an endorsement to eat crap food. Eat healthy and exercise, that’s all there is too it. Xocai doesn’t need to be a part of it. A strawberry is far more likely to be better for you. Here’s something you’ll never see… an MLMer claim that they’ve seen strawberries replaced “dangerous medication.” They aren’t generally interested in your health, just selling their product.

      Also don’t confuse this with me saying that chocolate isn’t healthy. I’m aware of all the studies. I eat dark chocolate myself, though I will probably switch to cacao nibs soon. There are two points I want to stress 1) it doesn’t replace medicine and should not be compared to it in any way and 2) Xocai’s chocolate isn’t shown to be better for you than other brands of chocolate. The other brands are cheaper than the $170 retail price of a 28-day supply of Xoçaí Nuggets, where they use misleading marketing such as huge amounts of ORAC that the body can’t process.

      Bill Gates has never left Microsoft. He is still a chairman of the company. He just wanted to focus more of his time pursuing a number of philanthropic endeavors. That said, you failed to address your lie that Gates claimed if he had to make his fortune again, he’d do it with MLM.

      It’s too bad that you glossed over your lie about Harvard Business School teaching MLM. It would have been nice of you to address it, especially because you went on and on about it with specific details.

      “I know you don’t believe it, but MXI chose MLM for a reason. It is education about a product that has a story to tell that sitting on a Walmart skew no-one would hear.” Yes, that story is, “Our product is comparable to medicine, even though we can’t legally say it.”

      The other health MLMs (juice, vitamins, etc.) use MLM for the same reason. It is quite clear why a company would use MLM. That’s why you aren’t seeing MLM companies selling refrigerators… it simply doesn’t make sense because you can’t pitch it as something it isn’t.

      Public companies are better because they are more transparent. That’s how we are able to get disclosures that we can’t trust. You can say that Xocai is debt-free, but where is the proof? Did they just say that? Or did they (as a public company would) publish a balance sheet with the SEC? I would have more faith in the later. Did Xocai say that they spent a lot of money on R & D or are they willing to go the extra mile and prove it. I can look up exactly what Herbalife spent last quarter in R & D… and that’s a good thing.

      Where’s your evidence that the body can only use 20g of protein per meal? You think you know better than professional body builders who routinely take more than 20g at a time?

      Muscle Milk was an example, there are dozens of whey protein products. If you don’t like Muscle Milk, pick any of those that you do like. The ingredients are not inferior to Vi-Shakes as they avoid soy, one of the controversial ingredients in Vi-Shakes. What are the documented side effects with Muscle Milk that you are referring to?

      If Muscle Milk was sold via MLM, it would $200 instead of $40, so that the company can maximize the money from the distributors that are required to buy it to be in the “business opportunity.” Remember that Harper’s Magazine said, “… Mary Kay’s business model (like that of any multilevel-marketing enterprise) is designed primarily to profit from, rather than enrich, its workforce.” And at $200, no I wouldn’t recommend Muscle Milk, I would recommend one of the other whey proteins that can be had much cheaper.

      You see how it works now? The formula is easy. Take an ordinary product chocolate, juice, vitamins, etc. change them slightly to make them appear to be better quality. Raise prices through the roof and justify it by pairing it with a business opportunity. It’s really not much different than the the $100 Pen Pyramid Scheme.

      Former Red Sox GM, Terry Francona once said, “Everyone can have an opinion, but it takes work to have an informed opinion.” I have put in the work to expose the lies and the false marketing including studying dozens and dozens MLM companies. Through this extensive research, I have an informed opinion of MLM. It is nearly impossible finding anyone supporting MLM who is not paid directly by MLMs to recruit others and thus can’t give an unbiased view. I am not burdened by those biases that you have. My analysis comes form a very different place.

  15. Paul says:

    It is quite obvious from your statements you know very little about nutrition and how vitamins and minerals are delivered to the body. Lazyman said, “If you investigate chocolate cake, you’ll find it has all the ingredients of chocolate, plus a few additional ones”. Really? Chocolate cake has, besides overly processed chocolate, unhealthy fat and the most notable additional ingredient is refined sugar which by some standards is poison. Of course there are well funded lobbies that keep unhealthy products on the market.

    The compounds in chocolate are well documented and another case of trace vitamins minerals that are actually delivered to the cells because food works better that pills. If I buy a trace mineral supplement it is most likely going to end up in the toilet.

    There you go again misquoting my message. I never said the body needs chocolate to heal itself. I said we need antioxidants to be healthy, there is a difference. There are many ways to get them. Antioxidants don’t cure anything they help us stay healthy so we don’t get sick in the first place. Personally I pay close attention to my health, by eating healthy non GMO foods, taking food based vitamins (not from an MLM company) and yes getting antioxidants/flavonols from healthy chocolate. As for getting off meds, I was giving my personal testimonial having rid myself of meds with the help of my doctors. So it isn’t necessary for me to make false claims, it is my successful personal story, my clinical experience. I really don’t need you to verify anything for me.

    I don’t know about other products, I do know about this one and started using it for the health benefits long before I ever considered the business. The products worked for me and I would continue using them even if there wasn’t a business involved. I am sharing my truthful story . I wouldn’t be able to promote something that didn’t work for me. This is referral marketing and it works because people take advise from those they know and trust. Also why banks etc. use it to get new customers, offering a monetary referral bonus if the people you refer open an account.

    You are exactly right, chocolate has been around for thousands of years and in ancient times it was used to improve health. In fact it was so valuable only royalty were permitted to have it. It was not dutched, alkalized and roasted cacao like the candy products of today. It was a medicinal bitter drink. It is not more drugs that make us healthy. Although not always possible, most intelligent people are trying get off drugs. Since the FDA is controlled by the drug companies and other corporations it is not a very credible source.

    More than 700,000 unnecessary deaths is well documented here http://www.webdc.com/pdfs/deathbymedicine.pdf

    Lazyman said, “You see how it works now? The formula is easy. Take an ordinary product chocolate, juice, vitamins, etc. change them slightly to make them appear to be better quality. Raise prices through the roof and justify it by pairing it with a business opportunity.” That would be dishonest, where is you proof of that statement? And, “Our product is comparable to medicine, even though we can’t legally say it.” Your deceptive words, not mine.

    It comes down to who do you trust, someone who approaches issues like a one note song, playing the same note over and over, or a company you know well. Large corporations in the so called traditional marketing model are constantly being challenged for unfair business practices. Again, I will point out Blyth/Visalus and the investors that have been duped out of their money. I am more likely to trust the people I know personally than some multilayered conglomerate corporate structure that is anyone’s guess.

    Another old saying, “Jack of all trades and master of none”. You claim to be an expert but where is the proof of that. Unfortunately you come across like a cynic. I can only imagine you are a shill being paid by those outside the network marketing industry to debunk it. So really you are the one who is biased. You are in a different place for sure, projecting a scripted, often dishonest, one note message that you play over again and again.

    • Lazy Man says:

      You missed the entire point about the chocolate cake. It wasn’t about health or nutrition, but it was to debunk your implication that more compounds is better (“you will find that it is one of the most complex foods with more than 300 compounds”). Since chocolate cake includes all the complexity of chocolate, plus additional compounds, you’d have to agree that it is better than chocolate. However, as you point out, there are unhealthy compounds in chocolate cake. Hence you can’t claim that chocolate is good with statements such as, “you will find that it is one of the most complex foods with more than 300 compounds.”

      If you had watched the Bill Cosby video I linked to where he gives his kids chocolate cake because it has good ingredients like milk and eggs, you would have seen my point. I wasn’t making a case that chocolate cake was nutritious at all, but you’d rather pretend I did so you can score a point in the debate and be right.

      Paul said, “If I buy a trace mineral supplement it is most likely going to end up in the toilet.”

      If you buy USP Verified Dietary Supplements you get know the product: “Will break down and release into the body within a specified amount of time. If a supplement does not break down properly to allow its ingredients to be available for absorption in the body, the consumer will not get the full benefit of its contents. USP Dietary Supplement Verification tests products against federally-recognized dissolution standards.”

      In short, it is not most likely going to end up in a toilet. Again, United States Pharmacopeial is an independent, unbiased, non-profit corporation. For someone that claims to know a lot about vitamins, you seem to be clearly lacking knowledge about important.

      As you said, “I said we need antioxidants to be healthy, there is a difference. There are many ways to get them.” If you like chocolate so much, you can get them from much cheaper sources. Additionally you can get them from fruit another source that doesn’t cost an enormous $150 a month for a very small amount of chocolate.

      As for giving your personal testimonial of having rid your meds, it’s against the FTC’s endorsements guidelines:

      “As the revised Guides make clear, testimonials reporting specific results achieved by using the product or service generally will be interpreted to mean that the endorser’s experience is what others typically can expect to achieve. That leaves advertisers with two choices: 1) Have adequate proof to back up that claim, or 2) ‘Clearly and conspicuously disclose the generally expected performance in the depicted circumstances.'”

      If you don’t believe it read what MonaVie says to its distributors about their personal testimonials:

      “MonaVie Pulse restored my eyesight.” – While that maybe an honest opinion, it is not a typical result, and therefore, any such opinion posted online or said offline would be in violation of the current guidelines, unless there is valid research to support the claim.

      As you say, “This is referral marketing and it works because people take advise from those they know and trust.” I ask that you govern yourself within the laws and avoid violating the FTC guidelines in your referral marketing. This means ceasing to tell stories about chocolate taking you off your medication. I don’t think following the laws is too much to ask.

      Paul said, “it is my successful personal story, my clinical experience. I really don’t need you to verify anything for me.”

      You do not have a clinical experience as you weren’t part of any kind of clinical trial. Without a placebo control, you can’t be sure if your perception is equivalent to reality.

      Paul said, “I don’t know about other products, I do know about this one and started using it for the health benefits long before I ever considered the business.”

      You should take the time to learn about the other products rather than choosing to remain closed-minded. Perhaps if you saw that others were claiming that mixtures of 5 herbs (Protandim), exotic juices (MonaVie, Xango, Jusuru), salt water (ASEA), all took them off their medication as well, you’d say, “Hmmmm, these products really don’t have any common ingredients. It can’t be antioxidants, because people aren’t getting off their meds with strawberries and blueberries. The only thing they do have in common is that they are sold via MLM. Lazy Man is right, it is just too much of a coincidence that the dozen unrelated products that these claims are all made about are MLM.”

      I didn’t see anything about chocolate being used to improve health in ancient times… but even so, hey leaches were used too (and still are). Let’s not set modern medicine back thousands of years by relying on people who didn’t know the Earth was round. As for chocolate being valuable in those times, let’s not forget that spices were valuable too. People liked the taste. In a world where such tastes are in limited supply (unlike today’s world) that makes price go up.

      Paul said, “More than 700,000 unnecessary deaths is well documented here http://www.webdc.com/pdfs/deathbymedicine.pdf” This relates to what Paul said previously said, “Food is medicine. Consider that more than 700,000 people die every year unnecessarily, from complications in the medical industry. People are searching for something better and the reason why the wellness industry is growing.”

      It is a little unclear what in that documentation supports the “Food is medicine” analysis. It would be like me pointing out that there are a number of car crashes in the United States, so I should go purchase a couch. There’s nothing to suggest that a couch is a substitute for me transportation needs… just like there’s nothing there to suggest that food is a substitute for medical needs.

      As for the study, one of the first things that pops off the page is bedsores accounting for nearly 15% of the 700,000. I’m not seeing how chocolate helps bedsores and I’m guessing that chocolate plays a significant role in obesity that leads to bedsores. Bedsores would happen to the sick even if they were left untreated in hospital and were bedridden at home. That’s what’s wrong with how people interpret a lot of these studies. They point out how the hospitals fail (or could certainly do better), but ignore that the alternative, no medical supervision, is much, much worse.

      Finally keep in mind that 700,000 is a very small percentage of 310 million population. How many of the millions went to their doctor and were helped? Hundreds of millions?

      I’ve had computer crash on me on occassion. When that happens, I don’t throw away the computer and turn to a carrier pigeon to communicate with the outside world. Sure, I’d love to have a computer that never crashes, we all would. There’s a saying that perfect is the enemy of very good.

      Another thing that is worth reading is Malcolm Gladwell’s article on on how accidents are going to happen regardless of what we do with any complex system (and health care is a complex system). Here’s a good quote: “This kind of disaster is what the Yale University sociologist Charles Perrow has famously called a ‘normal accident.’ By ‘normal’ Perrow does not mean that it is frequent; he means that it is the kind of accident one can expect in the normal functioning of a technologically complex operation. Modern systems, Perrow argues, are made up of thousands of parts, all of which interrelate in ways that are impossible to anticipate. Given that complexity, he says, it is almost inevitable that some combinations of minor failures will eventually amount to something catastrophic.”

      Paul said, “Since the FDA is controlled by the drug companies and other corporations it is not a very credible source.”

      The FDA is not controlled by drug companies. That’s one of the most ridiculous statements I’ve ever read. If it were, you’d see thousands of drugs approved every year. You’d see that drugs wouldn’t require 3 rounds of clinical trials.

      I said, “You see how it works now? The formula is easy. Take an ordinary product chocolate, juice, vitamins, etc. change them slightly to make them appear to be better quality. Raise prices through the roof and justify it by pairing it with a business opportunity.” Paul responds with, “That would be dishonest, where is you proof of that statement?”

      Now you see my point. Take a look at any MLM health product. Protandim is five cheap, commonly found herbs. If you read my article, you’ll find that you can buy all the ingredients much, much cheaper separately. See the ViSalus article. Compare MonaVie and V8-Fusion Acai Berry’s prices. Of course no company is going to come out and say, “We are a dishonest company and we purposely price our product high by pairing it with the business opportunity.” They are all going to say, “We have a higher quality product and that’s why our prices are higher.”

      This is well-covered in this USA Today article. Even pro-MLMer say, “The problem so many have is their prices aren’t competitive in the real world.” When USA Today asked Amway about the price of their vitamins in comparison to GNC’s most comparable product, their response was, “The quality of our products (is) reflected in our pricing.” However, there’s never any proof of that quality. Amway doesn’t show that their vitamins are better absorbed than GNC’s.

      For further proof, you can see that when many MLMs are sold in a free market system, without a business opportunity tied to it, like Ebay, it is often much cheaper. Bill Ackman with Herbalife showed that this isn’t true for non-MLM companies.

      I said, “Our product is comparable to medicine, even though we can’t legally say it.” Paul’s response was, “Your deceptive words, not mine.” Sorry your words were, “Food is medicine” and “I have seen people get off of some of those devastating meds, with the approval and in co-ordination with their doctor, just by eating chocolate.”

      You are most definitely making a comparison of your product to medicine. If you weren’t, then you wouldn’t have made an association with chocolate getting people off their meds. So why are my words deceptive? Are you going to now backtrack and make it quite clear that there’s no connection between your product and medicine?

      Paul said, “It comes down to who do you trust, someone who approaches issues like a one note song, playing the same note over and over, or a company you know well.”

      It isn’t about trusting a person or a company. It is about evaluating the simple facts. Every person can verify the information themselves. Harvard never taught MLM. Bill Gates never said he’d do it all over again in MLM. The people who have been promoters of MLM give no analysis of why it is a good business and it is known to be a bad business for various reasons and instead try to sell products to those in MLM.

      Paul said, “You claim to be an expert but where is the proof of that.”

      Have you seen my articles on MLM and followed the 10,000s comments that I’ve gone through in the last 5 years? Did you see how quickly I picked up on your Paul Zane Pilzer thing that people have been talking about on my blog since 2009? Did you see how I easily called out your lies about Harvard Business School and Bill Gates. Have you spent time reading my related site MLM Myth site?

      Paul said, “Unfortunately you come across like a cynic. I can only imagine you are a shill being paid by those outside the network marketing industry to debunk it. So really you are the one who is biased. You are in a different place for sure, projecting a scripted, often dishonest, one note message that you play over again and again.”

      You can follow why I write the MLM articles in the beginning of each one. I make it quite clear what lead me to write the article. It is usually someone like you coming and making a big stink about how great MLM is, so I go look at what company the person is promoting and it is a total obvious scam. That’s what happened with the ViSalus article. A MLMer told me in the One24 article that ViSalus was awesome and that I couldn’t possibly dig up any dirt on them. They were supposed to be the best of the best… and one of co-founders hits the FTC’s description of a pyramid scheme.

      Of course you are no better with your illegal medical claims breaking the FTC’s endorsement guidelines by suggesting that Xocai can be a substitute for medication.

      And somehow, with no evidence of any dishonest statement on my part you claim that I’m “often dishonest.”

  16. Paul says:

    Bottom line is that these products have worked for me and I would use them no matter how they are marketed. I can only account for my personal experience. Yes, this is my clinical experience. I know this product improved my health because I didn’t make any other changes in my diet, routine or anything else. I just share my story and people can decide for themselves. I don’t need to fabricate anything – just my story and the extensive research on cacao. I am and have not claimed that chocolate cures anything, even though you dishonestly keep trying to say so. Again, not a medical claim, my experience. You or anyone else cannot dispute my experience. I could not in good conscience project phoney information just to make money, as it appears you do in your blogs just to make the advertising dollars. Most people do network marketing everyday they just don’t get paid for it. What you do is a form network marketing.

    You aren’t very convincing or believable because there is no balance in what you write. It is just a monologue of tired old stuff that is often twisted – comparing apples to oranges that doesn’t make good common sense. Just because you write a blog does not make you an expert. As I said before a blog makes anyone an expert. Since Amazon rankings are so important to you, 5 of the top 10 books on Amazon are about how to get healthier through wellness programs. Please guide me to your Amazon rankings since this seems to be the number 1 criterion for who is credible.

    I have never done network marketing before so I don’t know about other companies using MLM for distribution. I love the Xocai product and the results I received from it. Subsequently, I personally checked out MXI Corp before starting to distribute the products – that was 5 years ago. You might consider doing a real investigation of Xocai that happens to distribute it’s products through network marketing. From what you have said so far I do not look forward to your fake analysis of an excellent ethical company.

    In the end it is all about trust!

    • Lazy Man says:

      When you signed on to be a distributor of the product, you became an endorser in the eyes of the FTC. As an endorser, you are not allowed to associated an experience (if medical in any way) to a food. If you feel you need to share your experience, you can do so… if you cancel your financial relationship with Xocai.

      Paul said, “You or anyone else cannot dispute my experience.”

      It depends on what your experience was. If you said, “It is my experience that Quaker Oats cured my blindness”, anyone could most certainly dispute it. You are welcome to believe what you want, even that the world is flat. It doesn’t make it true.

      Paul said, “I could not in good conscience project phoney information just to make money, as it appears you do in your blogs just to make the advertising dollars.”

      I’m not suggesting that you are projecting phoney information. What I’m saying is that your belief in attributing your experience to Xocai is faulty. Hell, Dr. Bowden said it outright, naming Xocai by name. There are a number of valid reasons for you to hold the belief that you do. I detail them in this article: No, Your MLM Health Product Doesn’t “Work.” Again, belief should not be confused with reality.

      I don’t project any phoney information about MLM. I always say that if anyone ever finds something I say as wrong, simply tell me and I’ll fix it. I put a lot of work into verifying my sources, which is more than can say for you and your Harvard Business School teaches MLM lie.

      I agree that I do network marketing. That’s why I never confuse MLM with network marketing. Network marketing could technically be a commercial on NBC. After all NBC is a network and it is marketing. Multi-level Marketing is more accurate as it describes the multi-level recruiting aspect that the FTC associates with pyramid schemes. The only reason people call MLM, network marketing was because MLM got such a bad reputation from everyone losing money. Network marketing was a way to start over from scratch. The Direct Selling Association was dying as people stopped selling vacuums door-to-door. MLM jumped in once again and rebooted its reputation by claiming that they are direct sellers. It is clear that the term direct selling would be more appropriate for Ebay, which ironically most MLMs ban distributors from selling on it. Recently companies like MonaVie have rebooted the term once again, going with Community Commerce.

      You can read more here: MLM vs. Network Marketing vs. Direct Selling. It’s all MLM, just a different shade of lipstick on the pig.

      Paul said, “You aren’t very convincing or believable because there is no balance in what you write.”

      It is hard to balance wide-spread fraud. For example, my MonaVie article explained in detail how “MonaVie is a grossly overpriced product, with little nutritional value, wrapped in a poor business opportunity that appears to be illegal pyramid scheme, supported by nonsensical “scientific” studies and illegal medical claims. I could have made a case that they use a fraudulent charity too, but that was beating a dead horse at that point. I think people got the idea there.

      I’ve never seen anyone write a balanced account of Bernie Madoff defrauding people. There must not be any believable stories about Madoff.

      Paul said, “Just because you write a blog does not make you an expert. As I said before a blog makes anyone an expert.”

      I’ve never suggested that writing a blog makes someone an expert. Sure I could create a blog on rocket science tomorrow and it wouldn’t make me an expert. However, if I created a blog on rocket science and spent 5 years researching it, having daily conversations with rocket scientists and got to a level where I could correct other rocket scientists mistakes… I would call that a level of expertise.

      I have put in the time and research. It is obvious in my articles. I have studied what the FTC says about MLMs. I know how the FTC’s endorse guidelines impact the MLM industry, which you don’t. I know the lies that MLMers spread (Bill Gates and Harvard Business School) that you didn’t seem to know (or else you were purposely trying to scam people here). No, having a blog doesn’t make me an expert… putting in the time and effort to educate myself about the topic DOES make me an expert.

      Paul said, “Since Amazon rankings are so important to you, 5 of the top 10 books on Amazon are about how to get healthier through wellness programs. Please guide me to your Amazon rankings since this seems to be the number 1 criterion for who is credible.”

      I’ve got no problems with people wanting to get healthier through wellness programs. You want me to point you to my Amazon rankings? This is a classic appeal to accomplishment fallacy.

      Paul said, “I have never done network marketing before so I don’t know about other companies using MLM for distribution.”

      Don’t you think it would have been wise to spend more time understanding the industry before you jumped in? At the very least, you should take the opportunity now to read what Dr. Bowden wrote about the multitude of MLM products that don’t work. Spend some time trying to understand that how it is that dozens of MLM products have these claims and zero non-MLM products. I’m still waiting for you to explain that one. I realize you don’t want to think about it, because the cognitive dissonance of it is distressing to you. It’s much easier for you to create a fake reality where I’m some kind of bad guy instead of someone just trying to help people see the truth.

      Unlike the MLM companies, I don’t ask people for a dollar of their hard-earned cash.

  17. Paul says:

    You just keep coming back like a “bad Penny” – with a lot of smoke and mirrors and blustering negatively about others to avoid answering the most important question – Who are you and why are you credible? Since you are so selfaggrandizing we would know all of it by now if there was anything to know.

    The FTC ruled Amway was is not an illegal pyramid scheme, since then it has been an accepted and well established distribution model. In the 1979 ruling, the Federal Trade Commission found that Amway does not qualify as a pyramid scheme because distributors were not paid to recruit people and had to sell products to get bonus checks, and the company was committed to buying back its distributors’ excess inventory.

    More from the FTC
    Some people confuse pyramid and Ponzi schemes with legitimate multilevel marketing. Multilevel marketing programs are known as MLM’s, and unlike pyramid or Ponzi schemes, MLM’s have a real product to sell. More importantly, MLM’s actually sell their product to members of the general public, without requiring these consumers to pay anything extra or to join the MLM system.

    If the FTC would take on a giant like Amway, they would have no problem taking on other companies if they were violating their rules.

    Yes Dr. Bowden lists a whole lot of companies but he says “antioxidants are good”. No-one is saying chocolate cures cancer, grows hair or anything else. Again my experience cannot be disputed and certainly not by you. It is mine.

    I don’t need to look beyond this company because I have no plans to be involved with any other company. So no I don’t think it would have been wise to spend more time understanding the industry before I jumped in, any more than I would have needed to study, the so called traditional distribution model.

    Bernie Madoff seems a poor example. People make informed choices about products and buy through retail or direct marketing. Mr. Madoff didn’t have anything to offer except a get rich Ponzi scheme. Network Marketing delivers products and is work just like any other business.

    As for retail companies that claim their products work, here are a few.
    http://www.vinomis.com/?gclid=CKT78qCW8LUCFc5AMgod42YAbQ
    http://www.randox.com/antioxidant-products.php
    http://invati.aveda.com/Search%20?cm_mmc=-_-ENG_ENG|Hair%20Care%20Invati|Non%20Brand|Broad|PC-_-Hair%20Care|X|Invati|X|Thinning|SPP|OK-_-thinning%20hair%20products
    http://www.healthyhairplus.com/Hair-Formula-37-Hair-Growth-System-s/579.htm

    Still waiting, to hear why you are more credible than the many sources I listed, that rank high on the Amazon sales list – Your criterion, not mine. Now it seems you are distancing yourself from that. Everyone you reference has an educational degree or something that you think makes them an expert. Fair enough. I in fact have listed many well respected authors but you found a way to put them all down as insignificant, one was even too Christian. Nothing is all bad, not even you.

    • Lazy Man says:

      See my about page for who I am.

      Why am I credible? I tell the truth and you can easily verify it. Credibility doesn’t come from who is doing the talking, but what they are saying. For example, you lost credibility, not because of who you are, but because you went on about Harvard Business School teaching MLM to the level of detail where they had specific things to look for in MLMs. It never happened, and you lost credibility for purposely trying to spread that spread that blatant lie.

      To go a little deeper, you are a little like the Saturday Night Live skit, Drunk Uncle. For example, you mentioned above that the FTC ruled that Amway was not an illegal pyramid scheme. In actuality, the FTC sued Amway for being an illegal pyramid scheme and the courts ruled against the FTC. The FTC wasn’t the judge, they were the plaintiffs in the case. The judge is federal court system. Since that 1979 case, the FTC has successfully prosecuted (or settled with the result of ending the business) quite a few MLMs as pyramid schemes. Here’s one about Jewelway International:

      “Legitimate multi-level marketing plans are a way of making retail sales of products or services to consumers through a network of representatives. However, in an illegal pyramid scheme the main focus is not on sales, but on recruiting new representatives into the program. Typically, each new representative must buy a certain amount of products and must recruit a specified number of new participants in order to earn money in the program. In a pyramid scheme there is almost no emphasis on making retail sales of products to persons who are not participants in the program.”

      Thanks for the quote about “legitimate MLMs” from the FTC. That was from this this 1998 article. In this FTC article from November 2012 the FTC says:

      “Not all multilevel marketing plans are legitimate. If the money you make is based on your sales to the public, it may be a legitimate multilevel marketing plan. If the money you make is based on the number of people you recruit and your sales to them, it’s not. It’s a pyramid scheme. Pyramid schemes are illegal, and the vast majority of participants lose money.”

      Paul said, “If the FTC would take on a giant like Amway, they would have no problem taking on other companies if they were violating their rules.”

      Two things:

      1. They lost the Amway case, which was pretty embarrassing. Many said that their lawyers did a really bad job.
      2. You can hear how the FTC investigates MLMs in this CNBC documentary. They mention it at the 17 minute mark. Or you can read the FTC’s David Vladeck words. He says that they only react to consumer complaints.

      They don’t have a division of the FTC keeping tabs on MLMs making sure they are in compliance. This is why recently they shut down a ten year old MLM, Fortune Hi-Tech Marketing, for being a rigged game. If they were actively watching MLMs, they would have stopped the rigged game early. Instead, because they waited for 10 years of consumer complaints, the result was “hundreds of thousands of people defrauded out of hundreds of millions of dollars.” The president of the MLM had previously told USA Today that if it were illegal he wouldn’t be standing there.

      I think this proves that the FTC is fundamentally flawed in how it operates. You can’t assume that a MLM is legal just because the FTC hasn’t shut them down. You never know when the next Fortune Hi-Tech Marketing could be coming.

      You haven’t said what your experience is, so we can’t say whether it can be disputed. If you came out and said that your experience was that it gave you the ability to read other people’s minds and fly, your experience could most certainly be disputed by others. If your experience is that it made you smile, then of course I wouldn’t dispute that. It becomes a question of whether your experience fits in with the typical experience of eating chocolate. I hope you can see how there are different ends of the spectrum.

      I would pay special attention to this letter from the FDA about quoting scientific research on chocolate in your Xocai sales business. Here’s specific quote for you:

      “When scientific publications are used commercially by the seller of a product to promote the product to consumers, such publications may become evidence of the product’s intended use. For example, under 21 CFR 101.93(g)(2)(iv)(C), a citation of a publication or reference in the labeling of a product is considered a claim about disease treatment or prevention if the citation refers to a disease use, and if, in the context of the labeling as a whole, the citation implies treatment or prevention of a disease.”

      Read a little further on and you’ll see this is illegal marketing. I just want you to keep this in mind, in case you see some chocolate study come out in some news report and plan on using that commercially to promote the product to consumers.

      Paul said,

      “I don’t need to look beyond this company because I have no plans to be involved with any other company.”

      You should always research if only to understand competitors. More importantly, you could learn more about your own company if you understood the others. You claimed that I wasn’t an expert above. Yet here you disclose your preference to purposely be ignorant. And you want to question my credibility?

      The point about Bernie Madoff was that people don’t write balanced accounts of those who defraud them out of money. It wasn’t about making a comparison of his scheme to other schemes. I think you got the point that not every topic is fairly balanced and deserves to be treated that way.

      I’m not distancing myself from your credibility question. I covered it completely with the reference to it being a fallacy of appeal to accomplishment. It’s worth understanding this quote, “Appeals to accomplishment are fallacies only when they are simple appeals to authority. It is not fallacious to rely on the testimony of a person who has attained a certain level of education or experience if they can produce further evidence to back up their positions when required.”

      I’ve asked you to back up Paul Zana Pilzer, John Maxwell, and other people that you mentioned’s testimonies with evidence that MLM is a good business. They provide no such analysis and don’t defend their position. You are simply using them as an appeal to authority. When you can produce further evidence to back up their positions, then you can use them. I am more credible, because I don’t rely on my famous name, but I back up and produce further evidence of what I’m saying.

  18. Paul says:

    Credibility absolutely comes from who is doing the talking. Your “About page” doesn’t tell us anything about you. And Your link to “appeal to accomplishment” doesn’t seem to exist. Oops! If you can’t give us your real identity maybe you have something to hide. It is TRUST. Warren Buffet said, “In looking for people to hire, you look for three qualities: integrity, intelligence, and energy. And if you don’t have the first, the other two will kill you. If you hire somebody without [integrity], you really want them to be dumb and lazy.” Unfortunately, you fail the Buffet test, missing that first and well “lazy” speaks for itself.

    I guess it’s a good thing the FTC isn’t King. There is this thing, checks and balances that seems to have worked quite well. Apparently the FTC didn’t appeal the ruling. So, in the end Amway won and so did network marketing.

    I did the research into MXI then I signed on. I looked the owners is the eye and personally heard their vision and what they are about. When it comes to business it isn’t just charts and graphs that are important for evaluating a company, it is much much more. Do they have integrity? Are they smart? Are they in it for the long haul? Do they know their industry? (In this case chocolate) Do they have what it takes and the financial resources to get through the hard times? The answer I found is a resounding YES! I believe those that get ahead in this world are those who process and act on information.

    Your quote “hundreds of thousands of people defrauded out of hundreds of millions of dollars.” sounds familiar and it has nothing to do with network marketing but rather the main stream that is missing those checks and balances.
    http://articles.washingtonpost.com/2011-10-04/politics/35277240_1_va-loans-whistleblower-suit-department-of-veterans-affairs
    http://www.justice.gov/usao/nys/pressreleases/October12/WellsFargoLawsuitPR.html
    http://www.forbes.com/sites/halahtouryalai/2012/10/15/banks-rigged-libor-to-inflate-adjustable-rate-mortgages-lawsuit/
    http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/bank-of-america-too-crooked-to-fail-20120314

    Since it is just you and me here going is circles, this diatribe you put forth, is a waste of time. What you have been throwing out is your opinions and sterile information, to get a reaction that keeps it all going. If you see yourself as an authority and want to be taken seriously you might consider being honest – People don’t buy books by an “anonymous” author.

    • Lazy Man says:

      Credibility only comes into play when the facts can’t be ascertained. For instance if Hitler said that 2 + 2 is 4, we don’t dispute the fact because of who said it. It doesn’t matter who I am. If it were to turn out that Charles Manson is Lazy Man and Money, then all the facts above are still true. It would be more reputable than you, the ironically anonymous Paul, who lies about MLM being taught at Harvard Business School.

      This is all covered in the beginning of the famous Twenty-Five Ways To Suppress Truth: The Rules of Disinformation:

      “For such disinformationalists, the overall aim is to avoid discussing links in the chain of evidence which cannot be broken by truth, but at all times, to use clever deceptions or lies to make select links seem weaker than they are, create the illusion of a break, or better still, cause any who are considering the chain to be distracted in any number of ways, including the method of questioning the credentials of the presenter. Please understand that fact is fact, regardless of the source. Likewise, truth is truth, regardless of the source. This is why criminals are allowed to testify against other criminals. Where a motive to lie may truly exist, only actual evidence that the testimony itself IS a lie renders it completely invalid. Were a known ‘liar’s’ testimony to stand on its own without supporting fact, it might certainly be of questionable value, but if the testimony (argument) is based on verifiable or otherwise demonstrable facts, it matters not who does the presenting or what their motives are, or if they have lied in the past or even if motivated to lie in this instance — the facts or links would and should stand or fall on their own merit and their part in the matter will merely be supportive.”

      It’s clear that you’ve realized that you’ve already lost the debate on Xocai and MLM and instead are trying to focus on my anonymity. The anonymity is due to me running a personal finance blog where I disclose my income and net worth. It is irrelevant to any discussion of MLM.

      (Oh and if you had trouble with the link to Appeal to Accomplishment, perhaps you could open up a browser and educate yourself rather than stay ignorant and complain.)

      Yes it is a good thing that we have checks and balances and that the FTC is not king. Way to backtrack from your mistake without admitting it.

      I don’t know if the FTC did appeal, but the points the Amway defense were fairly good… especially the fact that people had to have ten retail customers before earning bonuses. This was given as one of the safe guards that helped Amway escape punishment. I haven’t seen an MLM today that has that safeguard in place and documents enforcement of it. So even if Amway was legal then, it doesn’t mean the ones today are. In fact more recent cases (as I pointed out with Jewelway) show that MLMs can be and have been prosecuted for being illegal pyramid schemes.

      All the things that you found in MXI could be said of Fortune Hi-Tech Marketing. They had all those things too… they were just running an illegal pyramid scheme disguised as a legal MLM.

      My quote of hundreds of thousands of people defrauded was directly related to the FTC’s comments when it shut down the MLM Fortune Hi-Tech Marketing (FTHM) 6 weeks ago. Here is a direct quote from it’s court filing:

      “In its decade of operation, FHTM has defrauded hundreds of thousands of customers out of hundreds of millions of dollars.”

      The other links you listed about banks are not relevant to MLM or this discussion.

      Again, the comments that I make here are, for the most part, not my opinions. I cite information information from FTC.

      (Oh and people buy books from anonymous authors all the time. Perhaps you heard of pen names? Maybe spend a few minutes and find out who Richard Bachman (the author, not the hockey player) was.)

  19. Patrick says:

    Paul,

    Don’t shoot the messenger buddy! Seemed like Lazyman is the only one offering you free advice here. I bet your chocolate guys have collected quite a few dollars from you in exchange for ways to over come objections and challenge those who would dare to disagree with you using fact based logic.

    You can have your own opinion Paul but you can’t have your own facts. Lazyman has shot down every BS argument you’ve put forth and now you’re trying to attack him personally. I don’t expect you to know this but when you run out if arguments and only have personal attacks left it means you lost.

  20. Paul says:

    Looks like Patrick has drunk the Koolaid too. Free advice is everywhere including how to overcome objections. Whether it is useful is another thing. This is not about anyone personally, but rather about twisted information.

    Identity is relevant in any discussion if someone wants to be taken seriously. Hitler may have been right, but unfortunately you are saying 2 + 2 = 5 and are following the The Rules of Disinformation to a T in your blog. The “Great Imposter” said and did a lot of things that gave him credibility, at the time. But, was he credible, no of course not. And you have lost credibility bundling all network marketing companies as bad because they are network marketing companies.  Weaving, spinning, creating whatever you choose and finding content to back up your opinions. Yes your opinions. Anything can be found to backup a point of view.

    I have not changed the subject. I have been very clear why MXI is a stellar company. So there you go again misquoting and putting words into my mouth. You however chose to muddy the waters by bringing in chocolate cake and making this nonsense statement about compounds. “Since chocolate cake includes all the complexity of chocolate, plus additional compounds, you’d have to agree that it is better than chocolate.” When referring to compounds it should follow that we are talking about good nutritional properties. So yes I will stick with my statement, “you will find that it is one of the most complex foods with more than 300 compounds.” Here is a partial list, Vitamins A, B1, B2, B3, C, E, K, pantothenic acid, Magnesium, Calcium, Potasium, Iron, Chromium, Copper, Phosphorus, Anandamide, Theobromine, Manganese, Zinc, Omega 6 Fatty Acids, PEA, Tryptophan, Serotonin, Selenium, Niacin, Coline….

    It has become common knowledge that flavonoid consumption is important for better health and higher in chocolate than any other food. So maybe what large corporate chocolate companies are saying about dark chocolate would be of more interest to you. Mars for example seems to be getting the picture. They said “The truth is, the benefits of chocolate come from cocoa flavanols–not percent cocoa or the darkness of the chocolate.” Comparing Mars average values claim of flavonoids to MXI’s continual independent testing for levels of flavoniods.
    Cocovia 63g dark chocolate bar, 300 cal. 22g fat, 24g sugar = 250mg flavonols
    Xocai 6g X Power Square, 33 cal. 2g fat, 2.3g sugar = 744mg flavonols
    http://www.cocoavia.com/cocoa-flavanol-comparison
    http://www.mxicorp.com/products/index.php?category=chocolate&ID=4&country=usa
    Maybe you do get what you pay for. Cocovia has about 10 times more of the bad stuff and 1/3 the flavonols.

    Ok so there are people using pen names. Mark Twain, George Eliot. Lewis Carroll, George Sand were all pen names but it became their true identity. They were known by those names. Mostly authors writing fiction use pen names, non-fiction not so much.

    You missed the point about the banks or rather, banksters. The greed that collapsed the global economy. The multinational corporate structure that manipulates our lives for profit. The losses are staggering and anything that has happened in MLM companies is a pittance in comparison. I don’t see anybody in jail or even prosecuted for the lives they ruined. You might want to put your energy there if you want to help everyday people. But, that wouldn’t work would it? You need something where controversy can be created driving internet traffic to your sites.

    One more thing, consider what Steve Jobs said, “Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition.”

    • Lazy Man says:

      It seems that U.S. News and World Report, Wall Street Journal, Lifehacker, and The Consumerist disagree with you that identity is important if you want to be taken seriously. Those are some of the places my articles have been featured in.

      Need more proof? Look up Watergate and see the anonymous person who took down U.S. President. How did it happen? People actually verified the facts, rather than dismissing them because they came from an anonymous source.

      I never said that all MLM companies are bad because they are MLM companies. I said that I haven’t come across a good one yet, and there are many bad traits of that they share such as using misinformation/disinformation to profit on spreading what appears to be illegal pyramid schemes as well as illegal health testimonies (like your own).

      If I’ve given any twisted information, please point it out and explain why. Otherwise your opinion of the discussion here is invalid. Yes, your opinion.

      I want to make it clear. I have nothing against chocolate. I believe I linked to some of the health benefits of chocolate above. I eat dark chocolate (Lindt as it is the cheapest that is 70% cacao that I’ve been able to find) myself with red wine.

      I brought up chocolate cake, because you had previously tried to make the claim that more compounds is better. You did this by pointing out that chocolate has over 300. You didn’t state whether all 300 were healthy compounds. Now you seem to see that it is possible to introduce unhealthy compounds. My analogy seems to have worked.

      How much vitamin C is there per gram of chocolate. I’m asking, because you mentioned it. Is it going to compete with orange juice? My point is that amounts of vitamins is important. A speck isn’t going to do much of anything.

      I think you need to look at the Cocovia chart you linked to again. It is showing that one Cocovia stick has 30 calories and has the equivalent of flavonols as 63g of dark chocolate which they mention is “Average values based on testing a selection of dark chocolate from leading US manufacturers – Oct. 2011.”

      You also don’t seem to know your own product very much. At the bottom of this official Xocai PDF it states that there are 1740 flavonols per serving (18g). That would mean 580mg flavonols per 6g square, not 744mg as you said.

      So if you are going to do an apples to apples comparison, 30 calories of Cocovia (one stick) has 250mg of flavonals (0.5g fat, 0 sugar) and 33 calories of Xocai Power Squares has 580mg flavonals (2g fat most of it saturated, and 2.3g sugar).

      I’ll give Xocai the advantage of more than twice the flavonoids, but it also has a lot more of the bad stuff (sugar and fat) than Cocovia.

      You were very wrong when you said, “Cocovia has about 10 times more of the bad stuff and 1/3 the flavonols.”

      It is very common for personal finance bloggers to be anonymous. Click on the links in my blog roll (it shows a random group of the 50 or so I read and trust) and you’ll see that being anonymous is typical when it comes to people who disclose their income and net worth. It’s a very common model.

      You can go through my posts and see that I’ve been writing anonymously since 2006 and didn’t discover MLM until 2008, when someone approached my wife to try to get her to buy two bottles of juice for nearly $100. I never intended my blog to cover the topic.

      I have other articles that cover the banks and the things you mention. You should go read them and comment on them if you wish. This discussion is about Xocai, so don’t try to change the subject to banks.

  21. Paul says:

    If you haven’t come across a good MLM yet then one must assume they are all bad since there are hundreds, maybe thousands, of them out there.

    Saying your analogy seems to have worked is twisted. No need to go on, I have already given many examples.

    A 1000 mg of vitamin C won’t do any good if it goes down the toilet. A complex food like chocolate has many nutritional elements that work together. We know that chocolate provides excellent delivery to the cells so whatever amount there is gets to the cellular level.

    Oops my math was off on that one. My Cocovia comparison was comparing chocolate products that you eat which seemed a more reasonable comparison, since most people like to eat chocolate. So an apples to apples comparison of the Cocovia chocolate bar works out like this – 30 cal. 2.2g fat, 2.4g sugar and 25mg of flavonols compared to 523g flavonols for 30g of the Xocai product. That is 20 times more flavonols in the Xocai product with everything else about equal. Cocovia states, “the benefits of chocolate come from cocoa flavanols–not percent cocoa or the darkness of the chocolate.” If that is true then there isn’t much nutritional value in the Cocovia product. Also, the natural fat in chocolate is cocoa butter consisting of oleic, stearic, and palmitic acids. These are considered healthy fats and at worst neutral. The sugar in the Xocai products is not refined but rather sugar cane juice crystals, which makes it diabetic friendly.

    • Lazy Man says:

      I’m not saying that every MLM is bad, just that the 50-60 that I’ve looked at are. As you mention, because there are thousands out there, there is the possibility of there being a good one. Pampered Chef and SolaVei might be leading candidates. However, those aren’t health MLMs that I typically look into. It’s hard for someone to say that their phone service (SolaVei) cured their cancer. In any case, maybe it is like swans, where a vast majority of them are white, but there’s a black swan out there.

      I keep challenging people to bring to my attention a good MLM and they keep failing.

      If you buy a USP Verified version of vitamin C, you can be assured that it won’t go down the toilet, because it was tested to “break down and release into the body within a specified amount of time”. Vitamin C with such certification is very cheap.

      There’s a lot of fear, uncertainty, and doubt in MLM circles about vitamins not being absorbed and yet there’s no evidence of it.

      I am not sure we have agreed that chocolate provides excellent delivery to cells. You’ll have to back that up with some independent science, and not some herbalist website, but a peer-reviewed journal.

      It looks like your apples to apples comparison of Cocoavia to Xocai is still off. I provided it for you in the previous comment:

      “So if you are going to do an apples to apples comparison, 30 calories of Cocoavia (one stick) has 250mg of flavonals (0.5g fat, 0 sugar) and 33 calories of Xocai Power Squares has 580mg flavonals (2g fat most of it saturated, and 2.3g sugar).”

      I got this information from your Cocoavia link, specifically the first box of the image. I’m not sure why you’d make Cocoavia worse by saying that it has 2.2g of fat and 2.4 sugar and only 25mg of flavonols, when it has 0g sugar, 0.5g fat, and 250mg of flavonols.

      The comparisons were made of 30 calories of cocoavia vs. 33 of Xocai Power Squares. Yes there is a 10% difference in more product for Xocai, but it is close enough.

      It is not 20 time more flavonols in Xocai, but about 2.5 times. It’s still good, but you don’t need to exaggerate it, and you have concede that the sugar and fat in Xocai is worse that Cocoavia.

      In your previous comment, you had grouped fat as “bad stuff”, but now that your product is on the losing end of it, you are changing your tune and saying it is healthy. Why didn’t you give it credit for being healthy before?

  22. Paul says:

    Of course direct marketing companies focus on consumable products rather than products that you might buy a few times in a lifetime. Some of the most successful retail companies sell what consumers buy everyday, like Proctor and Gamble, Kelloggs, General Mills, Cambell’s Soup to name only 4. People join MLM companies for many reasons. Most people buy Xocai for the product not the business. I have brought a good ethical company to your attention.

    I’ll try it again. – Comparing chocolate that you eat from each company – the Cocovia sticks are a beverage the hard chocolate is in the 3rd box on the Cocovia site. To make it an equal comparison I broke it down to about 6g of each product.
    Cocovia Dark Bar 6.3g 30 cal. 2.2g fat 2.2g sugar = 25g flavonoids
    Xocai 6g X-Power Square, 33 cal. 2g fat, 2.3g sugar = 580g flavonols
    Actually I was conservative in the Flavonols statement I made. The Xocai Square is more than 23x higher than an equal amount of the Cocovia bar. Even higher considering the Xocai square is .3g smaller.

    As for the bad stuff, most chocolate companies remove the good cacao butter and sell it to the cosmetic industry, where it is in high demand. It is replaced with hydrogenated oils or other fats that aren’t good for you.

    • Lazy Man says:

      I understand why MLM companies focus on consumable products, it’s a way of getting their distributors to give them revenue month after month, year after year overpaying for product while they pursue a terrible business opportunity. Of course it wouldn’t work with appliances.

      My point is that if MLM were truly a superior distribution method, it would work for all retail products. This would include those sold by successful retail companies sell appliances too like Whirlpool, GE, Samsung, and GE (see I can name successful company names too).

      Not only is MLM an inferior distribution method for appliances, but it is terrible for consumable products too. Who wants to go track down a distributor to buy a gallon of milk. I don’t have time for that. No one I know has time for that.

      Paul said, “the Cocovia sticks are a beverage the hard chocolate is in the 3rd box on the Cocovia site.”

      Are you still talking about this link to Cocoavia’s website that you gave. It doesn’t look like the Cocoavia sticks are a beverage, but a powder. The hard chocolate in the 3rd box on the Cocoavia site is not a Cocoavia product, as referenced by the double asterisks. The numbers in the third box represent “Average values based on testing a selection of dark chocolate from leading US manufacturers.” We don’t know if these dark chocolates are 70% cacao like experts recommend. My guess is that they are not, so that the Cocoavia product looks better. Cocoavia should give more details about the tested products, but they don’t so we shouldn’t read too much into the 2nd and 3rd boxes.

      Hopefully now, you see that the third box is not a Cocoavia bar and your comparison was a waste of time. You need to compare it with the first box, which is Cocoavia’s product… and that is the comparison I made.

      Maybe try a fourth time?

      It is worth further noting that the USDA has some solid studies on products with the highest flavonoids (PDF) and neither dark chocolate or cacao made the top 10 lists. Dried parsley and black tea stands out as particular good sources.

  23. Paul says:

    Whirlpool, GE, Samsung, and GE are those companies that you only buy products from a few times in your lifetime. It is consumables and what better consumable than chocolate. I figure you pay for the antioxidants and the chocolate is free. And I don’t think milk would probably work for network marketing. That isn’t even a reasonable idea. Product distribution isn’t a black and white issue, there isn’t just one way to do anything. So it isn’t reasonable that there be only one way to distribute products.

    Ok so the Cocoavia is a powder. You called it a stick. What do you do with the powder eat it by the spoonful? Sounds tasty, might go really well with your red wine. I do think it is meant to mixed in a liquid no matter how you want to spin it. So we are back to apples and oranges. Incidentally I think you’ll find that the Lindt chocolate you like so well is a lot higher in fat, sugar and devoid of any flavonoids. Most chocolate is cooked at extreme temperatures to get rid of the bitterness and therefore destroying the flavonoid content. As stated here in a NYT article, “the very thing that makes chocolate good for you — the antioxidants called flavanols – also make chocolate taste bitter. As a result, confectionery makers often take out the flavanols, stripping the chocolate of its main health-promoting properties.” http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2007/12/21/the-problem-with-chocolate/ You keep stating 70% is best but that is very controversial as stated earlier and above. And 70% of crap is still crap.

    Actually spinach is also very high in flavonoids but you would need to eat a pound a day and how much dried parsley can or would you be able to eat. I think most people would rather eat a little chocolate daily to get their flavonoids.

    It appears you are running out of ideas because it is still your same one note out of tune song. So no there won’t be a 4th time.

    • Lazy Man says:

      I purposely pointed out appliance companies that you buy only a few times in your life. If MLM was truly a superior distribution system it would work for them. You continually fail to understand that conclusion and instead go back and repeat the premise that agreed upon – that these companies sell products to people on an irregular, rare basis.

      You say that a consumable like milk wouldn’t work for MLM and go on to say it isn’t a reasonable idea. However, it should be a perfectly reasonable idea if MLM is a superior way of distributing a product.

      My point here is to show you that you were wrong, long ago, when you suggested that MLM was a way to better way distribution method. Now that I’ve confronted you with a bunch of products that you admit MLM isn’t a good fit for, you are forced to fall back from your position and say, “Product distribution isn’t a black and white issue, there isn’t just one way to do anything. So it isn’t reasonable that there be only one way to distribute products.”

      I called Cocoavia a stick, because in your link to Cocoavia’s website, under the picture of the Cocoavia product, it says, “One Cocoavia Stick.” Sure, the product is meant to be mixed in a liquid. You were the one who brought up the products for comparison. If you have a problem with that comparison, you need to deal with the devil in your mirror. In the end, if a person is looking for flavonoids, it doesn’t matter if it comes from powder in a liquid or a solid.

      I noticed that you gave up trying to do the math after your third or fourth failure.

      That’s a good NY Times article that you point out. Here are a couple quotes that stood out:

      “The darker the chocolate, the higher it’s likely to be in flavonoids, according to the February issue of Mayo Clinic Health Letter.”

      and

      “But even if your chocolate is loaded with flavanols, it won’t be a wonder drug. Most studies show only modest benefits from chocolate, and even though it’s good for you, you still have to pay attention to calories and fat.

      ‘If you ask me what’s more important, a little physical activity like walking or eating the chocolate, go take your walk,’ said Dr. Shani.”

      I didn’t say that 70% is best, I said that it recommended that you get chocolate that it is at least 70%. I’m just repeating what I’ve seen from numerous articles. They want to differentiate between things that are just labeled “dark chocolate” and have a very small percentage of cacao in it.

      You’d have to eat a very small amount of dried parsley… the kind that could be mixed into a spoonful of applesauce and probably not be noticed. I think most people would prefer not to spend $150 a month on flavonoids, especially given their minimal benefit as shown in the NY Times article. You tell me that taking a short walk is better for me and it saves me $150 a month over buying your product. Ummm, I’m sold!

  24. Paul says:

    If calories and fat are a concern to you, then you may want to avoid Lindt. Of course you didn’t address the good fat in natural chocolate.

    I noticed you didn’t backup “most studies show only modest benefits from chocolate” There is a reason researchers keep on studying it – it works! And the major point of the NYT article is that most chocolate companies take out what is good for you. Maybe that is the chocolate being used in the studies you are reading.

    applesauce and parsley yum sounds delicious. I don’t think that will be a big seller.

    One more thing you seem to be avoiding – there is more than one way of doing things. I never said MLM is a superior way, only that it is another way. Traditional distribution vs direct marketing. Traditional companies advertise their products in the media, online and infomercials. That is one way of doing it and of course it is legitimate. Network marketing companies generally don’t advertise, that is the job of the distributor. Instead of paying the ad agencies and media 50% of their gross income it goes to distributors for educating people about their products, which is another legitimate method to move products. It is very difficult to start a small business today because the big conglomerates make it difficult to compete.

    In network marketing the start up costs are very low, there is no insurance, employees, workman’s comp, brick and mortar space, utilities, legal fees etc. A direct good marketing company provides training at no cost and because of the internet there is tons of useful information to help people grow a business for free. Online courses, study materials, presentations and interactive web seminars are being used as educational tools. And with the technology everything is calculated for you in a back office that includes a replicating website, if that seems useful, for a very low price. In the case of MXI it is $25 a year. The network marketing is changing the way in which people purchase products and services because it is more efficient. A little scary to status-quo thinkers.

    Yes I think you should take a walk because you’re not getting anywhere here.

    • Lazy Man says:

      I’m okay with the amount of good fat and calories that I eat in my chocolate. It’s like complaining about the calories in almonds or avocado. For the amount I eat, it isn’t significant and it’s budgeted into my diet.

      Paul said, “I noticed you didn’t backup ‘most studies show only modest benefits from chocolate’.” It was a direct quote from the NY Times article you linked to previously. Now you expect me to back-up the articles that you submit? I’m flattered that you consider me more reputable than the NY Times.

      It’s a myth that the MLMs substitute traditional advertising by paying distributors. As Harper’s Magazine wrote, the distributors are the victims:

      “Most who make money earn about minimum wage, while fewer than 300 of the 600,000 Mary Kay ladies in the United States net a six-figure income. The women I interviewed for ‘The Pink Pyramid Scheme’ told me stories about struggling to patch together daycare or to survive high-risk pregnancies while working long hours scouting prospects and hosting parties without any guarantee of a sale. Debts mounted, marriages failed. They couldn’t have it all because Mary Kay’s business model (like that of any multilevel-marketing enterprise) is designed primarily to profit from, rather than enrich, its workforce.

      (Dude, I’m trying to help you avoid being another victim.)

      The low start-up costs in MLM is a very bad thing. It means that people get strung along in a business where 99% of people lose money month after month and year after year. Not only that, but there’s no barrier to competition, which is a huge negative. If anyone with $25 can do your job, and you can’t provide extra value to the consumer, you aren’t going to make any serious money.

      MLM hasn’t changed any status quo in over 25 years, where CNN’s Money Magazine called it a “Mess… taking in the gullible.”

  25. Paul says:

    Actually, you were the one to bring up all the bad fat in the Xocai product in the first place.

    What does $25 have to do with anyone’s job? That is for a robust computer system for a year that tracks everything about your business, so you can do the important things to be profitable. It is part of what makes the system duplicatable. 99% is a stretch, all businesses fail in the 90% range. People fail in this profession because they quit. I had a small business with 20 employees for 20+ years and know how hard it is to succeed in that world.

    Low startup is a good thing because you have the potential to start making money sooner. There are no guarantees in any business. It took Amazon 7 years to show a profit, fortunately they had the resources to sustain that long start-up. This business model is the best kept secret that naysayers like you don’t want anyone to know about.

    Bill Gates said, “As we look ahead into the next century, leaders will be those who empower others.” And that is what network marketing is all about. And Socrates said,“The only true wisdom is knowing that you know nothing.” Please spare me any advise, Dude.

    • Lazy Man says:

      I didn’t bring up bad fat in Xocai. You were the one that said that Cocoavia had “bad stuff” like tons of sugar and fat when you misinterpreted the picture on the website. I was just going with your assessment that fat is “bad stuff.” Personally, I think the amount of fat in Xocai is negligible, as is almost everything in the 30 calorie size sample that we were comparing. People don’t think twice about drinking a 16 ounce Coke with 200-300 calories and tons of sugar, so I’m not going to get on Xocai’s back for 30 calories and a couple of grams that fat that may even be good fat. As I said earlier, I’m a fan of nuts and avocados and they have plenty of good fat, so I’m good there, thanks.

      You said that $25 is what it takes to start a Xocai business. If it is a good business everyone on my block is going to do it and there’s not going to be anyone to sell chocolate to. Xocai doesn’t limit the opportunity by cost of entry or location like Subway or McDonalds franchise. That means there’s nothing to protect your business. If I wanted to open a Subway next to another Subway, the parent company would deny me the license, as it should.

      99% of people losing is not a stretch in MLM, it’s baked into almost every compensation plan. In fact it’s 99.40+ for many of the top MLM companies.

      Let’s look at Xocai’s business opportunity. They are one of the few MLM companies that publish an Income Disclosure Statement. That’s a point in their favor, it puts them ahead of the industry norm. Unfortunately, the last income disclosure statement is from 2010 – 3+ years old by now. I’m going to have to take away 9/10s of the point I awarded them for neglecting it. Nonetheless, you can click on that and see the failure results. For example:

      The Executive Level – which is in the top 95% of the people quantified in this income statement (more on that in a minute) work about 7.5 hours a week (using the average of their 5-10 average hours worked) and generate an average of $59 of revenue. That comes out to $7.87 an hour, a little more than the Federal minimum wage and less than some states like Massachusetts’ $8.00. There’s nothing Royal or Executive about that at all. However, it gets worse, much worse:

      This is the net revenue. It doesn’t include expenses that are incurred to make this money. It doesn’t include driving to show it off, Xocai conferences (hotel, airfare, food, etc.), product samples to give away. The product samples alone could take the net profit down to zero for these 95% of people represented in the statement. It also doesn’t include the requirement to buy the product. This is like McDonalds only allow you to work there if you buy their most expensive meal every couple of hours, whether you want to or not.

      Finally, and here’s the kicker, this only covers the people who have “personally sponsored at least 2 people.” If you are a Xocai Associate who has experienced the most failure, sponsoring one person or no one, you aren’t included! So there’s a whole pile of people at the bottom of this income disclosure statement that would bring down the numbers dramatically, but they are being excluded.

      As for businesses failing in the 90% range, it simply isn’t true. I recently researched this for this article: Now We Can’t Trust the FTC to Protect Consumers?. Here’s a quote with a link to the research, but you should read the whole article:

      “The U.S. Small Business Administration has this handy PDF of information. It seems that ‘7 of 10 survive the first two years’ (30% failure rate over two years), ‘half at least 5 years’, ‘a third at least 10 years’, and ‘a quarter stay in business 15 years or more.’

      If we are to compare this against a business where 90% are failing every year, it is drastic. If we start with a 100,000 people and 90% fail each year, you have 1000 people after two years. That’s a 99% failure in MLM vs. 30% in traditional small businesses. After 5 years, you are left with a single person in MLM instead of the 50,000 that you’d have with a traditional small business.”

      The low start-up is masked by the ongoing purchase requirements to remain in the business. As the income disclosure statement shows, people aren’t making their money back or staying ahead.

      MLM is not a secret business model. It’s been around for decades and MLMers have been shouting it from the rooftops (figuratively) as that is how they make their money, getting others in. If there’s a secret, it’s that these huge failure rates are in every MLM that puts out an income disclosure statement.

      I’ve got no problem with being a leader or empowering others, but don’t confuse that with MLM. It’s spreading a virus of a losing business to others in hopes of lifting yourself up.

  26. Paul says:

    No I said $25 is what it takes to maintain a back office. Some people are just customers not having any intention of a business. You have no idea the ratio of customers to business builders. So the income disclosure really doesn’t give a true picture. The minimum purchase is just the amount of chocolate one or two people are consuming anyway. The average American eats 12 pounds a year. Limited territory is a downside here. Since we don’t have brick and mortar businesses Subway next to Subway isn’t relevant. We are operating in 40 countries so there no limit where we can operate.

    As for business failures according to this study http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/09/21/your-startup-will-probably-fail_n_1904919.html be a Harvard Professor it is about 75% closer to my 90% quote than your 30%.

    Let’s not confuse your negative voice with leaders that empower people.

    • Lazy Man says:

      You originally said that it was low cost of entry because it was only $25. I don’t really care about what the $25 is for, my point is that the low cost of entry is bad, because it doesn’t prevent competition.

      I’d have to dig through Xocai’s compensation plan, which I don’t have time to do now, but the amount of money that the average person spends on chocolate each month isn’t that much, and they are likely going to continue to buy that chocolate because they like the taste (there’s a reason why milk chocolate is more popular than dark chocolate). I saw that the retail price of Power Squares was around $160 for a 28-day supply. Most people don’t spend $5 a day on chocolate… not even close.

      The lack of a physical brick and mortar business is an additional problem for the Xocai distributor. If you had a brick and mortar Subway, it would get foot traffic. Corporate advertises the product extensively which are two key things you don’t get with Xocai. There’s no limit where your competition can operate either. The very nature of recruiting people is creating more competition and actually hurting eachother’s businesses.

      Your link is about start-up business that take venture-capital. That’s a special subset that is not inclusive of all start-up businesses. “My” 30% is actually from the U.S. Small Business Association (Sba.gov), so go check it out.

      I’m not being a negative voice, I’m helping save people from getting involved in pyramid schemes that scam them out of their money. If you read the rest of my articles, I’m extremely positive. You only perceive it as negative because you don’t like the message. Cats would call dogs negative. Robbers call cops negative. I’ve proven the MLM scams, backed it up with information from the FTC, the consumer protection group. If you consider protecting consumers to be a negative thing, then you are alone on your own island there.

  27. Paul says:

    The $25 is like a Costco fee, it maintains the right to shop with Xocai at lower prices. Incidentally, the industry average for retention is 5 – 15%. The retention in Xocai is 60% overall and 90% for those doing the business. I think I trust Harvard and others over SBA which would be biased against MLM. Most sources show 75% and up for business failures.

    I’m confused first you said the monthly fee is unreasonable and now you state it “isn’t that much”. Actually with the yearly fee the chocolate is $110 – $125 plus shipping.

    Actually many cats and dogs get along quite well. I don’t believe you have proven anything about MLMs in general and nothing you have said applies to MXI. Since there are 190,000 people joining network marketing every month, they must know something you don’t know.

    And the FTC? If it was all a scam and a pyramid scheme, it would be a scandal everywhere in the news. But fortunately many of these companies are legitimate, are socially responsible and have community outreach programs. Probably unknown to you, many companies actually have the FTC review and pass on their plans and what is said about their products.

    True consumer protection comes from non-biased sources. That isn’t the case here because nothing is all bad – not even robbers.

    • Lazy Man says:

      Regarding Costco, here are a couple of key points:

      Costco isn’t bundling a business opportunity. No one joins Costco with the idea that they are going to use that membership to open up a new Costcos. There’s no multi-level with it. No one could ever make a legitimate claim that Costco is a pyramid scheme.

      If Xocai fans want to be members of Xocai for a discount to buy the product, the answer is simple, join as a “preferred customer.” These are people who want a discount, but are not interested in the business. This is what the better MLM’s are doing now to remain transparent. The idea here is to segregate the business opportunity from the people who care to buy the product (if these people actually exist).

      If your MLM doesn’t segregate the people who want to buy the product at a discount and the people who are signing up for the business, your MLM is simply sticking its nose up at the law. Good luck with that in the long term. A smart distributor would go back to their MLM and ask to buy insurance on that.

      In the meantime, the Xocai business opportunity is terrible as pointed out earlier.

      Going back to Costco… I’d make an additional point (not that it is necessary since it is beating a dead horse)… The products that Costco makes available are not affiliated with Costco. If I buy peanut butter there, Costco doesn’t make any extra money.

      If you want to make a case that Xocai clients should pay for money to join the club, the answer is easy… let me buy the product at Costco, right? I don’t want to pay fees to join for my chocolate (Xocai), my fruit juice (MonaVie), my vitamins (Youngevity), and my mythical youth fountain (LifeVantage Protandim). I paid my money to Costco and they’ve given me access to thousands of products from steaks, to light bulbs, to tents. The ball is in MXI (Xocai’s parent company) to do the same. Don’t get me started on all the MLMs that I would have spend money on.

      I don’t see why you think that the US Small Business Association is baised against MLM. The Harvard link that you showed is clearly regarding start-ups with venture capital, which is an entirely different thing than MLM.

      If you have a problem with the SBA, please state specifically which numbers you find false… and back it up with an expanation why. You can say, “Most sources show 75% and up for business failures.”, but give us which sources, and the context. You failed with giving a subset (venture capital businesses) and I’m not seeing anything more reputable from you.

      Paul said, “I’m confused first you said the monthly fee is unreasonable and now you state it ‘isn’t that much’.”

      I don’t think I said that Xocai monthly fee “isn’t that much”… The only quote of mind involving that was “I’d have to dig through Xocai’s compensation plan, which I don’t have time to do now, but the amount of money that the average person spends on chocolate each month isn’t that much.”

      Clearly that was about what people spend on chocolate on average and it has nothing to do with what they spend on Xocai.

      Paul said, “Actually with the yearly fee the chocolate is $110 – $125 plus shipping.” Awesome, so I can get a year supply of Xocai power squares for somewhere between $110-125 dollars? Why are they selling a 28-Day Supply for a retail price of $170? Last I checked there are more than 28 days in a year… and that $170 is more than $110-125.

      Paul said, “I don’t believe you have proven anything about MLMs in general and nothing you have said applies to MXI. Since there are 190,000 people joining network marketing every month, they must know something you don’t know.”

      Well, you understand the churn rate of MLM, right. Yes, somewhere between 60% and 90% of people leave every year. Go back and click on that link, read the article and follow those links for the proof. So while Xocai might have 190,000 joining every month, a pile, nearly just as many are likely to be leaving….

      … if you don’t believe me show me the independent consultant agency that verifies these numbers.

      Again, the FTC shut down Fortune Hi-Tech Marketing after a decade of (in their words) defrauding hundreds of thousands of people out of hundreds of millions of dollars. It happened just two months ago. Did you see it as a scandal everywhere on the news?

      If you can show me that Xocai has passed the FTC review that that is worthwhile. Please give me a link to the document, because these things are public record.

      I am a non-biased source. I explore MLM because my someone approached my wife asking her to buy some $45 bottles of MonaVie and I decided to write about it.

      Don’t make the mistake of confusing an informed negative review of your industry bias. Also, when information from the FTC shows it could be a pyramid scheme, and you can’t defend it, I’d say you should be worried… very worried.

  28. Paul says:

    I brought up the financial industry previously and you claimed it was for another discussion. Apparently not since have used Fortune Hi-Tech as an example many times of a failed MLM. As for Fortune Hi-Tech, I didn’t see it as a scandal of the industry, just one company. The are many companies that get fined and sometimes people are put in jail in the corporate world. You are concerned about one MLM company gone wrong. Yes it is an issue but a literal drop in the bucket in comparison. Corporate fraud is increasing at an alarming rate and has become best practices for many companies. Yet it is of little concern to you. Here are a few links.
    http://www.fcpablog.com/blog/2013/1/4/kaplans-top-ten-corporate-criminal-fines.html#
    http://www.nbcnews.com/business/glaxosmithkline-settles-fraud-case-3-billion-858164
    http://www.delawareonline.com/article/20130321/NEWS08/130321013/Shipping-company-fined-millions-polluting-Delaware-Bay-other-waters
    http://www.wusa9.com/consumer/article/250129/37/FTC-Fines-High-End-Retailer-For-Misrepresenting-Items
    http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2012-12-11/business/chi-hsbc-fine-20121211_1_hsbc-holdings-plc-chief-executive-stuart-gulliver-bulk-cash-transactions
    http://www.nbcnews.com/business/microsoft-slapped-733m-fine-eu-breaching-browser-pact-1C8709827

    In 2012 the Department of Justice’s Antitrust Division handed out more than $1.13 billion in criminal fines, a 46% increase over 2011. http://www.foxbusiness.com/government/2012/12/10/businesses-fined-record-amounts-antitrust-penalties/#ixzz2Ohm7SqXR

    Network marketing is world wide with less fraud than the traditional corporate world. I’m not worried!

    • Lazy Man says:

      Paul said, “I brought up the financial industry previously and you claimed it was for another discussion.”

      You brought up the point about the financial industry to turn the spotlight away from Xocai. Paraphrased you were saying, “These people are robbing people worse, go after them.” If you want to make a point of how the financial industry ties in with Xocai, do so. However, don’t try change the subject away from Xocai.

      Paul said, “Apparently not since have used Fortune Hi-Tech as an example many times of a failed MLM. ”

      Fortune Hi-Tech as another MLM that operates very similar to Xocai is definitely worth a comparison.

      Paul said, “As for Fortune Hi-Tech, I didn’t see it as a scandal of the industry, just one company.”

      Perhaps you should take another look. Billionare hedge fund manager already has put together a side-by-side comparison of Herbalife to Fortune Hi-Tech Marketing. I could do the same with just about any company in the industry.

      Paul said, “The are many companies that get fined and sometimes people are put in jail in the corporate world.”

      Not many of them are pyramid schemes.

      Paul said, “You are concerned about one MLM company gone wrong. Yes it is an issue but a literal drop in the bucket in comparison. Corporate fraud is increasing at an alarming rate and has become best practices for many companies. Yet it is of little concern to you. Here are a few links.”

      It isn’t one MLM company gone wrong. In the five years, I’ve been pointing out MLMs gone wrong, I hadn’t even come across Fortune Hi-Tech Marketing. I can’t even find a single MLM that’s gone-right? It certainly isn’t Xocai as the publicly income disclosure statement mirrors the exact reasons why Fortune Hi-Tech was shut down.

      As for the links to corporate fraud, it’s interesting that you’d include that one about Microsoft. There was an accidental technical glitch and no one noticed for 18 months. There was no harm found (it didn’t materially change browser share). Hey, why let the facts get in the way of link to supposed corporate fraud.

      Actually, MLM in the US alone is an estimated $12 billion in fraud a year, much worse than the corporate world, and it is small fraction of the number of businesses and people involved.

      However keep on trying to shine the spotlight elsewhere. I’m not sure any murderer got themselves acquitted with a defense of, “But Charles Manson murdered more people than I did!”

    • Lazy Man says:

      Paul, you really think that Fortune Hi-Tech Marketing is only one example of a bad company? What about Xocai itself?

      Give this article a read.

      Here’s a short quote:

      “Someone analysed and wrote a critical analysis of Xocai in Norway. A few years later the association representing Xocai associates in Norway claimed the author was making ‘untrue statements and defamatory claims’ and set about publishing his personal information, that of his family and the company he worked for. Despite admitting that their members have huge tempers and are “angry and crass”, they also openly encouraged said members to contact said person using the information they provided.

      After being approached in a cool and calm manner to clarify what exactly it was they found untrue and defamatory in Morten’s analysis, they then expressed no interest in doing so.

      Instead, they demanded that the information simply be taken down or that the author face threats of an escalation of their vendetta against him via media outlets, pending legal action from the US division of Xocai and MXI Corp and whatever actions their ‘angry and crass’ members saw fit to conduct.”

      Please read the full article and not that short summary, because this represents only a small tip of the iceberg.

      I have seen this happen personally with MLM companies that I have covered in the past. Does this seem like the kind of thing reputable companies do? Do Coca Cola employees harass people and their families who make claims about soda not being healthy? No.

      Even without the illegal claims of the product being pushed as a cancer cure this alone should be enough to get anyone involved in MLM to get out.

  29. Paul says:

    The Lazyman censored my last post more than 6 weeks ago. It looks as though he has given up on Xocai as a “bad” network marketing company.

    Check this out – Illegal Pyramids vs. Legal Multilevel Marketing Companies http://youtu.be/DUWmgsgMkPU

  30. Paul says:

    Been waiting for more than a year for your article on Xocai. Must be one of the good ones!!

    • Lazy Man says:

      Well I’m quite busy. If you followed the website on a regular basis you’d know why.

      I have it tentatively scheduled for August 22, but it could be pushed back as I have done with a number of articles. I just got to Kangen Water this past week and it was on the radar for years.

      Contrary to popular belief, I don’t focus on MLM stuff. I’d rather help the people who are legitimately looking for financial freedom without scamming people.

  31. Edward K. Thomas says:

    One of your consistent complaints about MLM companies is that, “very few people make the big money using the company’s own Income Disclosure Statement”.

    Isn’t that the case in EVERY industry? Aren’t most companies in emerging industries (MLM is an emerging industry and business model, relative to traditional methodologies) “also-rans”?

    Please find a few more valid complaints and stop rehashing that which does not matter.

    • Lazy Man says:

      It is true in every industry, but it is especially important in relation to the claims of those recruiting others. It is a red flag sign of a pyramid scheme. The truth is that on average people are paid less than minimum wage and earn no benefits. This is the typical case that should be pitched. Instead MLMers focus on misleading people with the very examples of those with big checks. Feel free to send me links to any MLM company that discloses the truth that people on average earn less than minimum wage.

      MLM isn’t an emerging industry. It’s been around for since the 1920’s as well-cited in Wikipedia. I find it difficult to call MLM an industry, but I guess if bootleg movies can be an industry so can MLM.

      Please find a valid complaint.

  32. Paul says:

    Because of the internet the network marketing model of today looks nothing like it did in the 1920s. It is more like Amazon than Amway. More and more fortune companies are using the direct marketing model. And unlike the past some experts believe the industry ($100 Billion annually is an industry) is poised for explosive growth as in this recent Forbes article http://www.forbes.com/sites/robertlaura/2014/08/29/would-you-join-a-multi-level-marketing-company-for-retirement-income/.

    • Lazy Man says:

      Hey Paul, welcome back.

      Network Marketing, better called Multi-Level Marketing (MLM), has well “multiple levels”, which is a key component to being a pyramid scheme. Amazon’s affiliate program is a single level commission model, which can’t be considered a pyramid scheme under any stretch.

      Let’s pump the breaks on calling that a real Forbes article. It carries the disclosure: “Opinions expressed by Forbes Contributors are their own.” Forbes Contributors are explained well in this article:

      “Who are these people filling Forbes.com with content?

      The short answer is, just about anyone who has something relevant to say and a reason to say it there.”

      It appears that people are paid on pageviews. I read the comments and it seems like it is getting spread through MLM circles as “validation” for the industry. Specifically one comment said, “I really appreciate this article for the validation it gives all of us in Relationship Marketing.”

      Comments like this one that criticize the article aren’t “called out” by the author and stay buried.

      It is pretty clear from the article that he hasn’t researched the industry for very long. It seems like he mostly just asked a few people with vested interest.

      Finally, the author himself admits that he doesn’t know if it’s in decline or growth:

      “I don’t know if its on the decline or rise but 150,000 clicks in 5 days has me leaning towards growth”

      It doesn’t begin to tell the story of 99% of people (or more) losing money as analysis of many MLM compensation plans show.

      Most of the arguments in the article are that could almost equally apply to no money down real estate flipping scams of the 80s. For examples the following quotes:

      – “It didn’t happen overnight, and I still work every day. I am very disciplined with my business and wake up every day knowing what I have to do in order to succeed at this. You have to treat it like a business and be willing to follow advice from others who have made it.”
      – “Prior to getting involved in my business, I told my friends to never let me join one of those things… but when our family was hit by the mortgage crisis I had to do something different.”
      – “If you treat it like a hobby it won’t pay you like a business.”

      The conclusion of starting a business is a pretty good one. However, conflating MLM in that is not. An expert, Rogier van Vlissingen, who writes a lot on Seeking Alpha correctly points out: “Nobody who is signing up for these programs for a few hundred dollars, and sometimes for free, has the thousands of dollars to do the legal research to ascertain if the program they’re about to join is or is not a pyramid scheme or a ponzi scheme, and the overwhelming majority of programs run the risk of one day being found such. For the time being, even government websites give the consumer no clear guidance on what is or what is not a ‘legal MLM’ as distinct from an ‘illegal pyramid scam.’ Until there is clarity about the legality of the industry, no one should give an unqualified endorsement.”

      It’s terrible to see people spreading misinformation that harms consumers.

  33. Paul says:

    You choose one of the worst companies as an example. Corporations and and most governments look like a pyramid. I guess I’m one of those along with many others here who are making a good income. Network Marketing is a business not a scheme, in most cases. Just a different distribution model. Direct marketing is here to stay because it is the most efficient way to distribute products. It doesn’t make sense to call companies bad because of how they choose to distribute products. If I called Enron a bad company, which it was, and said therefore all traditional companies are bad that wouldn’t make sense either.

    • Lazy Man says:

      You were the one who chose Amazon, I just went with it. Now you are calling them one of the worst companies? I feel like maybe you are referencing a different part of the conversation. However, since you didn’t specify, I have no way of knowing and have to resort to last company in the conversation.

      Like most people in MLM you are trying to mislead and defraud people when you say that, “Corporations and and most governments look like a pyramid.” You are simply confusing a very basic, hierarchical organization which doesn’t depend on recruiting or pass money up the chain with illegal pyramid schemes that where a majority of profits come from recruiting people into the scheme.

      Once again, you seem to confuse MLM and network marketing and direct selling. NBC, ABC, and CBS sells marketing on its network. Direct selling is through websites like Ebay where two people connect and product is shipped directly from one person to the next. Network Marketing doesn’t necessarily have to be multiple levels as in MLM. Direct selling does not have multiple levels either. MLMers created these terms to confuse people because MLM got such a bad reputation. MLM by any other name still stinks.

      As explained in this article, MLM is not a business: “MLM is referred to as ‘business’ though the most basic requirement to qualify for that definition — the fair exchange of value — does not occur. In MLM, people invest money but get next to nothing in return and certainly not what they had been promised.”

      As we saw with the Xocai Income Disclosure, many others are not making a good income. It seems like Xocai couldn’t even bother to put numbers more recent than 2010.

      Yes if you call Enron a bad company it doesn’t make them all bad. I’ve covered a couple dozen MLMs and haven’t found a SINGLE good one. I’ve challenged people to present one. The best they could come up with was ViSalus which is currently being sued for being a chain scheme and racketeering.

      So when no one can come up with a good MLM company it certainly seems fair to say that MLM is bad. However, if you want to stick to the topic of Xocai, as I covered it in the article it would be great. You don’t have to hide under generalizations that distort the reality of MLM.

  34. Lazy Man says:

    Added an update to address the Washington Post article on Xocai.

    It covers many of the problems of MLM.

  35. Lazy Man says:

    And more information comes out about how easy it is to create chocolate “junk science” information to mislead people:

    http://io9.com/i-fooled-millions-into-thinking-chocolate-helps-weight-1707251800

  36. Liz says:

    I have just read this page wirh interest after arriving here after searching on “Paul Pilzer scam”.

    I was really interested to see “Paul” attempting to agressively defend Paul Zane Pilzer.

    When I saw the descriptions that “Paul” used to describe Pilzer, I knew immediately that Paul was none other than Paul Pilser himself.

    How do I know that? Well that’s relatively easy when you have known the guy for over 10 years. And that being the case I can also tell you that he is so egocentric that he is the ONLY person that has ever described himself as a “leading economist”. As for his other description of “presidential advisor” I can tell you that is also another figment of his own imagination.

    Those two terms were his own descriptions that he used in PR material that he wrote himself.

    In fact you only have to search on Google using the phrase “paul pilzer presidential advisor” and you will quickly find that there is nothing listed anywhere except those pages he has written on his own very creepy self-promotional website, or that one on Wikkipedia “that he had his flunky manager write.

    Yes, he actually has a manager. But not a paid one. It is a person that Paul has had within his spell for so many years that it ridiculous. And the only reason they acted as paul’s manager, was because he was such a complete loser, that it made him feel important believing everything Paul told him.

    As for MLM. The reason Paul has built his career around MLM is because he can talk. In other words, no hard work. He has always left that to others. Yes, more people that were stupid enough to believe him. But the one thing all those people have in common is that they virtually all wake up at some stage.

    So thats it from me. From now on I will fondly remember this page as one more of the Paul Pilzer Scam Artist Exposed pages.

    And my compliments to you LazyMan for standing up to him and not falling for his BS.

  37. Justin says:

    I actually believe “Paul” is Jeremy “Paul” Reynolds. He is one of the top distributors of Xocai and I know first hand that this is not a reputable company. Jeremy fancies himself as a leader but all he does is regurgitate inspirational quotes. I wish I would have seen this article several years ago. It would have saved me thousands of dollars. Check out his facebook page. You’ll see what I’m talking about. The only thing more nauseating than Jeremy, would be his wife. You can take the girl out of West Bountiful, but you can’t take the West Bountiful out of the girl. Again, Kudos to you Lazy Man for completely blowing every argument he had out of the water. This company needs to be shut down. I’m also wondering why Xocai is not on your list of scams on your homepage under MLM scams? It needs to be.

    • Lazy Man says:

      Thanks Justin. Perhaps Paul is Jeremy Reynolds, I’m not sure.

      I wish I could have saved you thousands of dollars as well. That’s why I write these articles.

      Good catch on not having Xocai on the home page under MLM scams. It’s there now.

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